Household Inequalities in Rural Honduran Families

By Stacey Chiu and Lynne M. Casper.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In developed countries, time use diaries and surveys about the household division of labor are used to investigate gender inequality in families. Most of these studies indicate that although the gap in paid and unpaid labor between men and women has declined over time, men still perform more market work and women still perform more domestic work. Systematic studies on the gendered division of labor are less common in less-developed countries and to our knowledge no such studies exist to assist us in understanding gender inequality in Honduran families. This study uses new time use diaries, surveys and interviews to examine how gender inequality operates within a prevailing culture of patriarchy in rural Honduran communities. We employ mixed-methods to examine gender inequalities in 1.) the household division of labor, 2.) decision-making power, and 3.) social capital in rural Honduran families. We also investigate the extent to which household labor and gender theories explain these trends in the population. We use interviews to help us explain why these inequalities exist despite the government’s attempts to eradicate them. Time diary and survey data were collected from 13 rural communities located in the department of Francisco Morazán in the southern part of Honduras. Structured interviews were conducted in 4 of these communities. Results indicate that gender inequality is still occurring at the household level in rural Honduran communities. Our data also show that women have very low decision making power and social capital in households. We found that these gendered inequalities are continuing to exist in part due to men and women “doing gender.” Both genders are enforcing cultural norms of undervaluing women’s work, producing specific, unequal roles for men and women.

Keywords: Socialization, Doing Gender, Mothers, Fathers, Time Diaries, Mixed Methods, Relative Resources Theory, Economic Model of Time Use, Time Use, Gender Inequality, Household Division of Labor, Honduras, Rural Households, Decision Making Power, Social Capital, Family, Latin America, Gender Norms

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.195-210. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 919.277KB).

Stacey Chiu

Undergraduate Honors Student, Department of Sociology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

Lynne M. Casper

Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA


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