Young couples today prefer 'egalitarian' relationships

Washington: Most young men and women today want to be in an egalitarian relationships, where work and family responsibilities are equally shared.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California-Santa Barbara conducted a new study with a nationally representative sample of unmarried, childless men and women between the ages of 18 and 32 in the United States, where the respondents were asked how they would ideally like to structure their relationship with a future spouse or partner in terms of balancing work and family life.

Young couples today prefer 'egalitarian' relationships
Representational picture

The study found that when the option is made available to them, the majority of respondents, regardless of gender or education level, opt for a relationship in which they would share earnings and household/caregiving responsibilities equally with their partner.

Additionally, the study found that if workplace policies that supported work-family balance, such as subsidized child care, were in place, women were likelier to prefer an egalitarian relationship and much less likely to want to be the primary homemaker or caregiver.

These findings also shed light on the factors contributing to persistent gender inequality and the ways in which government and organizational policies could be redesigned to improve the lives of young men and women.

Co-author David S. Pedulla said that the findings offered new insights that may be useful in guiding policymakers and organizations that are interested in reducing gender inequality and improving the work and family lives of young men and women.

It also contributed new insights in the context of recent public debates about whether women should “lean in” and whether they could “have it all.” The study is published in the American Sociological Review.

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