Economic Geography (1999) 75(4): 370-394.

Gender, the Home-work Link, and
Space-time Patterns of Non-employment Activities

Mei-Po Kwan

Abstract:  Building upon recent theoretical work on the reconceptualized home-work link, this study identifies out-of-home, non-employment activities as another crucial component of the dynamic dependencies between home and work. Using a travel diary data set collected in Columbus, Ohio, and GIS-based three-dimensional visualization techniques, I compare the space-time patterns of these activities for three population subgroups. I examine the complex interrelations among women's day-time fixity constraint, non- employment activities, household responsibilities, and employment status using a nonrecursive structural equation model. The results show that women encounter higher levels of day-time fixity constraint than men regardless of their employment status. Such constraint is reduced when there are other adults in the household to share some of the domestic responsibilities. Women who face higher levels of fixity constraint are more likely to work part-time. An important implication is that redressing the domestic division of labor and gender relations within the household will not only reduce women's fixity constraint, but will also improve their labor market position (especially for women currently working part-time). One unexpected result is that full-time employed women travel longer distances to work than do men even though they encounter higher levels of fixity constraint. This suggests that, contrary to what past studies often assumed, the journey to work may not reflect the magnitude of the fixity constraint women face in their everyday lives.

Key words: gender, home-work link, fixity constraint, activity patterns

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