Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Breadwinner, bread maker. Gender division of labor and intrahousehold inequality in 1930s rural Italy

Mancini, Giulia (2020): Breadwinner, bread maker. Gender division of labor and intrahousehold inequality in 1930s rural Italy.

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Abstract

This paper offers a quantitative description of gender segregation in productive roles, and of its consequences on basic dimensions of women’s and girls’ wellbeing, among rural households in interwar Italy. It uses microdata assembled from a collection of family monographs, which recount the lives, work, and consumption behavior of more than 800 men and women. It finds that, despite the emphasis put by the qualitative literature on non-stereotypical examples of female work, a rigid gender-based division of labor was the rule. An investigation of household nutrition and expenditures does not offer definitive proof of gender bias in intrahousehold resource allocation, in spite of anecdotal evidence. Nevertheless, women commanded a lower share of total household income, while putting in as many or more working hours than men.

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