Abstract: The COVID-19 lockdown has generated a major shock on the allocation of time that individuals could spend on their regular activities. Working parents with young children have been particularly impacted as they have not been able to outsource child care labor. We conduct a survey in France on a representative sample of 1,000 individuals from the working population to study the impact of lockdown on beliefs in gender equality norms and on the division of labor within households (work, childcare and housework). To measure changes in beliefs in gender equality norms, we ask questions from the European Values Study (EVS), and compare responses from our lockdown survey with responses from the 2018 wave of the EVS for France, by matching respondents on observable characteristics. We find large changes in the factors that couples find important for the success of a relationship during lockdown compared to 2018. We also find evidence of lesser adherence to gender equality norms during lockdown. Regarding the reorganization of the division of labor within households, we find that the lockdown reduced the gender gap in hours of childcare among highly educated individuals, and in time spent on housework and childcare among partners where the female partner kept working during the pandemic. Overall, however, women were more often unemployed during lockdown, and performed a larger share of household-related labor.
By Anne Boring and Gloria Moroni