The Association between Norms and Actions

The Case of Men’s Participation in Housework


  • Daniela Grunow Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Faculty of Social Science, Sociology Institute
  • Nina Baur Technische Universität Berlin, Department of Sociology



Germany, Gender, Women, Men, Housework, Division of labour, Gender ideology, Cooking, Vacuum-cleaning, Doing the laundry


Gender and family researchers are often puzzled by the differences between gender norms and actual behaviour. For example, many previous studies have shown that since the 1970s, attitudes have changed toward more modern gender role beliefs. However, this is generally not reflected in behaviour, this being especially true for men’s involvement in housework and care work. In this paper, we analyse to what extent gender norms correspond with men’s participation in housework. We examine in particular cooking, vacuum-cleaning and doing the laundry, because these activities reflect pronounced variation in norms and actions with regard to modern and traditional gender role attitudes. Going beyond previous research, which assesses the general influence of norms on practices, we investigate the relative impact of different types of gender ideologies, namely the strength with which respondents endorse (1) the male provider and female homemaker model, (2) women’s employment, (3) employment as men’s primary role, and (4) men’s participation in unpaid work. Our empirical findings indicate that positive attitudes towards male contributions to housework are a key predictor of men’s housework.



How to Cite

Grunow, D. and Baur, N. 2014. The Association between Norms and Actions: The Case of Men’s Participation in Housework. Comparative Population Studies. 39, 3 (Sep. 2014). DOI: