Changes in parental time with children in China, 2004-2011: Time trends, regional variation, and gender inequality
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While a large body of research on parental time with children has focused on changes in American families, recently scholars have become more interested in understanding issues related to child care in China. Changes in women and men's child care time in the last decade in China remains largely under-researched. Given that China has experienced rapid economic development and successfully implemented a population policy to decrease the birth rate over the past decades, I expect changes in household division of child care time will be different from the trend that we have observed in the United States. This dissertation contributes to this research field by using the life course approach to examine change in child care time in Chinese families from 2004 to 2011. I focus on the overall pattern of parental time with children between men and women, investigate the gendered division of child care within the household in urban and rural sectors, and also examine the mechanisms generating change in child care time for men and women inside families. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (2004, 2006, 2009, and 2011), I find that there was a pattern of increased child care time for men and of slightly declining child care time for women over the study period. The gender difference in child care persists but with variation between urban and rural sectors. While the relative resources theory explains the pattern of the gendered division of child care in rural sectors, patterns in urban women's child care time were more consistent with a "doing gender" perspective and urban men's child care time were consistent with an egalitarian gender attitudes model. This research finds the gendered division of child care time inside Chinese families has been shifting in the direction of increasing egalitarianism, and men's child care time increased largely through intra-cohort change whereas change in women's time over this period was attributable to processes of cohort replacement.