Gendered Division of Digital Labor in Parenting: A Qualitative Study in Urban China

Yinni Peng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The gendered division of domestic labor is a key topic in gender and family studies. While there has been extensive discussion of time use and the division of physical, emotional, and mental labor in housework and childcare within couples, the division of digital labor in the family has not been systematically examined. Drawing on qualitative data obtained from 147 parents in 84 urban Chinese families, this study reveals prominent gender differences in digital labor in parenting by comparing urban Chinese mothers’ and fathers’ use of digital technology and media in searching for parenting information, maintaining online communication with teachers, and shopping online and using online education services for their children. The findings demonstrate an unequal division of digital labor in urban Chinese families, in which mothers shoulder most of the digital labor in parenting. This study enriches the feminist literature by demonstrating the mutual construction of gender and digital technology in the domestic sphere and highlighting a new form of domestic labor divided between husbands and wives in the digital age. This study challenges liberating and progressive myths surrounding digital technology and calls for academic reflection and public attention on its constraining and exploitative implications for women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-304
Number of pages22
JournalSex Roles
Volume86
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Digital labor
  • Child care
  • Gender diferences
  • Division of labor
  • Digital technology
  • Internet usage
  • China
  • Gender differences

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