Gender ideology and the domestic division of labor in middle-class Chinese families in Hong Kong

William K. M. LEE

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

29 Citations (Scopus)


Despite being engaged in full-time paid work, middle-class women continue to be responsible for the majority of housework and childcare. Based on in-depth interviews with 20 Chinese professional married women, this article explores their subjective perspectives, values and beliefs toward paid and unpaid work. The evidence shows that traditional gender ideology and a patriarchal familial structure, deriving from a Confucian culture, influence perceptions and allocation of housework and childcare, which women are expected to carry out or supervise. The employment of female domestic helpers further reinforces the traditional sexual division of domestic labor in the family. Women in Hong Kong continue to deal with the strain and contradictions of living their lives amidst countervailing modern and traditional forces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-260
Number of pages16
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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