Sex Roles, Vol. 42, Nos. 5/6, 2000
Multicultural Women’s Experience of Household
Labor, Conﬂicts, and Equity
Joanne Hoven Stohs
California State University, Fullerton
This study examines a group of 419 multicultural women (64 African
Americans, 136 Asian Americans, 171 Hispanic Americans, and 48 Middle
Eastern Americans) from Southern California. It examines Chafetz’s thesis
that women with macrolevel power (high socioeconomic status, SES) will
show higher levels of conﬂict with their spouses over household labor.
Such conﬂict is expected to relate to dissatisfaction with the division of
household labor as well as time or task differences with spouses over
housework. The multicultural women in this study differed among them-
selves by SES (proportional income, job status, and education) as well as
by the household time and tasks with their spouses, but such factors did not
inﬂuence conﬂict. Results indicate that regardless of ethnicity or macrolevel
power, multicultural women who perform more household tasks than other
women are more dissatisﬁed with the division of labor. These variables
alone inﬂuence the number of conﬂicts per week reported by racial and
ethnic couples. When reasons for conﬂict are compared, the equity issue
of ‘‘unfair share’’ is cited more frequently than any others. In general,
comparisons with one’s spouse on traditional ‘‘woman’s tasks’’ and time
on ‘‘women’s work’’ are not salient to the experience of household labor
conﬂicts among multicultural women even when macrolevel power is at-
tained. The majority of our respondents earn 39% of the household income
and work for pay Ն30 hr/week, yet perform the majority of necessary
household labor. The proportional income and overall education levels of
this sample are similar to Census Bureau statistics for their respective U.S.
groups in 1995–1996.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Psychology Department, California State
University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California 92834.
0360-0025/00/0300-0339$18.00/0 2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation