Education and Time Investment in Domestic and Parental Activities in Urban Areas of Iran

Fatemeh Torabi , University of Tehran

Education is considered one of the most important determinants of population change; operating through cultural change, enhancing negotiating powers or increasing opportunity costs of some behaviors. However, the role of education in gender division of household activities has not been investigated in Iran. This paper uses data from the 2014-2015 Time Use Survey, representing urban areas of Iran, to examine the association between the spouses’ education and their participation in domestic and parental activities. The findings show that wives are five times more likely to participate in either domestic or parental activities than their husbands, suggesting the persistence of gender division of roles in family sphere in urban areas of Iran. There are considerable gender differences in the association between education and the amount of time allocated to these activities. However, the experience of both wives and husbands is consistent with cultural explanations. Although different levels of education determines wives’ and husbands’ participation in domestic and parental activities but the positive direction of these associations suggest that the economic explanations are irrelevant. It seems that higher education does not increase the opportunity costs of household activities nor used as a negotiating power to reduce one’s share in household activities. Education appears to operate by enhancing egalitarian gender attitudes and the importance of quality parenting. Similar analyses in rural areas can deepen our understanding about gender relations in Iran and help evidence-based policy making in a context where family dynamics have raised serious concerns at the highest political levels.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course