Unemployed Men Happy To Do 'Women's Work'
August 24, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
LAS VEGAS, Aug. 23 (UPI) — Men unemployed as a result of the recession have taken on housekeeping and caring for children as their way of contributing to the home, U.S. researchers say.
Ilana Demantas, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Kansas, interviewed 20 recently unemployed men.
“Usually men see themselves as supporters of the family, and since a lot of them are no longer able to do that alone on their income, they have to construct their identity in a new way to allow them to still think positively of themselves,” Demantas says in a statement.
Demantas and Kristen Myers, an associate professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University, found men who were out of work in the recession highly valued the ability of women in their families who were employed and able to bring in needed income.
“Working was a way to sort of say, ‘I’m the man.’ But now managing the family is a way to see themselves as men. So they’ve actually used ‘women’s work’ to see themselves as contributing to the family,” Demantas says in a statement. “They very much felt grateful that women were employed. One subject said, ‘I’m so lucky that my wife is still working, and she has a great insurance policy.’ Another said, ‘If she weren’t working, I’d be sleeping in a car or something.”
The findings were presented at the 106th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.