Opportunity or Exploitation? A Longitudinal Dyadic Analysis of Flexible Working Arrangements and Gender Household Labor Inequality. By: Wang, Senhu and Cheng, Cheng. 2024. Social Forces. Vol. 102 Issue 4, p1446-1466.

It has been extensively debated over whether the rise of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) may be an “opportunity” for a more egalitarian gender division of household labor or reinforce the “exploitation” of women in the traditional gender division. Drawing on a linked-lives perspective, this study contributes to the literature by using longitudinal couple-level dyadic data in the UK (2010–2020) to examine how couple-level arrangements of flexible working affect within-couple inequality in time and different types
of household labor. The results show that among heterosexual couples, women’s use of FWAs significantly intensifies their disproportionate share of housework and maintains their heavy childcare burden regardless of whether their husbands use FWAs. In contrast, men’s use of FWAs does not change the unequal gendered division of housework and childcare, even when their wives
do not use any FWAs. These patterns of intensified gender inequalities are more pronounced in routine housework tasks (e.g. cooking, washing, and cleaning), and among the reduced hours and teleworking arrangements. Overall, rather than providing an “opportunity” for a more egalitarian division of household labor, the use of FWAs maintains or even exacerbates the “exploitation” of women under the existing traditional gender norms.