The Gendered Work Orientations of Working and Middle Class Cohabiting Couples

Amanda J. Miller, Ohio State University

Cohabitors have fairly egalitarian household divisions of labor, but the gendered aspects of their work orientations remain unclear. I examine the couple-level work orientations of 61 working and middle class cohabiting couples to determine how they “do gender” through their work. I find that nearly equal shares enact conventional and unconventional patterns, with middle class couples behaving the most traditionally, contrary to expectations. Working and middle class couples are equally likely to engage in non-conventional arrangements, but do so in different ways: working class couples frequently have equally unclear occupational paths while middle class couples frequently have equally strong career expectations. Results indicate that work orientation is one possible way that these less institutionalized couples are able to create more egalitarian unions.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2