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Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor

An urgent call for real-world solutions to gender inequality.
In the labor market and workplace, anti-discrimination rules, affirmative action policies, and pay equity procedures exercise a direct effect on gender relations. But what can be done to influence the ways that men and women allocate tasks and responsibilities at home?

In Gender Equality, Volume VI in the Real Utopias series, social scientists Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers propose a set of policies—paid family leave provisions, working time regulations, and early childhood education and care—designed to foster more egalitarian family divisions of labor by strengthening men’s ties at home and women’s attachment to paid work. Their policy proposal is followed by a series of commentaries—both critical and supportive—from a group of distinguished scholars, and a concluding essay in which Gornick and Meyers respond to a debate that is a timely and valuable contribution to egalitarian politics.
With contributions by Barbara Bergmann, Johanna Brenner, Harry Brighouse, Scott Coltrane, Rosemary Crompton, Myra Marx Ferree, Nancy Folbre, Heidi Hartmann, Shireen Hassim, Lane Kenworthy, Vicky Lovell, Cameron Macdonald, Ruth Milkman, Kimberly Morgan, Ann Orloff, Michael Shalev, and Kathrin Zippel


  • “With keen insight and passion, Gornick and Meyers show why and how ‘dual-earner/dual-caregiver’ arrangements are essential for the well-being of post-industrial societies… A wonderful book that is must-reading for experts, policymakers, and caring citizens alike.”
  • “An extremely stimulating and provocative debate.”
  • “While sharing a common goal of greater equality among men and women, the authors critically discuss whether gender symmetry should be a goal in itself, for whom, and at what costs in terms of social inequalities … This intense and honest dialogue makes for an exciting book.”