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Organising Work and Home in Same-Sex Parented Families: Findings From the Work Love Play Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2012

Amaryll Perlesz*
Affiliation:
The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, Australia.a.perlesz@latrobe.edu.au
Jennifer Power
Affiliation:
The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, Australia.
Rhonda Brown
Affiliation:
School of Nursing, Deakin University, Australia.
Ruth McNair
Affiliation:
Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, Australia.
Margot Schofield
Affiliation:
School of Public Health, La Trobe University, Australia.
Marian Pitts
Affiliation:
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, LaTrobe University, Australia.
Anna Barrett
Affiliation:
The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, Australia.
Andrew Bickerdike
Affiliation:
Relationships Australia Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
*
*Address for correspondence: Amaryll Perlesz, The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, 8 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056, Australia.
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Abstract

In this article we present findings from the Work, Love and Play (WLP) study: a survey completed by 445 same-sex attracted parents across Australia and New Zealand. Comparisons of household division of labour are made between a sub-sample of WLP participants, who were currently cohabiting with a same-sex partner (n = 317), and 958 cohabiting opposite-sex parents surveyed as part of a major Australian study, Negotiating the Life Course. This comparison showed that same-sex couples divided household labour significantly more equally than heterosexual parents, and lesbian couples also shared parenting tasks more equally. Qualitative findings from the WLP study indicate that, for many same-sex couples, major decisions around who gives up paid work and how many hours parents choose to work, as well as decisions around work/family balance, are negotiated on the basis of couple's preferences and circumstance rather than an assumption that one parent will be the primary child carer. It is speculated that this finding highlights an important point of difference between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples where the division of household labour is often based on the assumption that the mother will almost always be the primary child carer and homemaker. The research is a collaborative partnership between La Trobe University, Deakin University, The University of Melbourne, and Relationships Australia Victoria.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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