SSN Commentary

Three Ingredients for an Equal Dual-Career Partnership

Policy field

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University of South Carolina-Columbia

Originally published in Council on Contemporary Families on March 14, 2023.

College-educated young men and women expect to work for pay and expect the same of their spouses and romantic partners. These young people also expect to share household chores and childcare with their partners. Yet research shows that past cohorts of dual-career couples who say they want gender-egalitarian relationships often fall short of this ideal in practice: men’s careers are more likely to be prioritized while women trade off paid work to shoulder a heavier burden of unpaid domestic labor. The new book Equal Partners? How Dual-Professional Couples Make Career, Relationship, and Family Decisions follows the lives of twenty-one couples who were embarking on their working lives to see if dual-career couples today come closer to living out their values – and what barriers continue to prevent them from acting on their intentions.