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Gendered divisions in domestic work time: the rise of the (migrant) handyman phenomenon

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Drawing on quantitative analysis of three data sets - the Worker Registration Scheme, the Labour Force Survey, and the UK2000 Time Use Survey - and through an analysis of gendered use of time, this article provides an investigation of the small but growing phenomenon of male (migrant) domestic workers, and more specifically, of what we term the '(migrant) handyman phenomenon', in the UK. The article provides some preliminary documentation and discussion of the scale, characteristics, and drivers of the supply of and demand for these workers. By handymen we are referring to men doing traditionally 'masculine' domestic jobs such as home maintenance and gardening. We explore the gender-differentiated character of household work, including care, the implications for the gendered forms and quality of time experienced by women and men, and the ensuing feasibility of and demand for outsourcing these stereotypically masculine activities. In so doing we acknowledge the potential of current expectations of men to be both breadwinners and hands-on fathers to generate new time pressures for households. We also document the supply of migrant handymen coming from the accession countries of the European Union. By focusing on stereotypically masculinized forms of domestic work the article seeks to make a modest contribution to the literature on globalization, migration and social reproduction, which to date has largely focused on the more prevalent phenomenon of migrants engaged in traditionally female domestic work such as cleaning and caring.

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