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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


Traditional divisions of household labor have contributed to power dynamics and gender norms that exacerbate family violence and place the responsibility of care on women. As a result, American families today face separate but related problems in the care gap and the domestic violence epidemic. Using feminist economics as a theoretical framework, this paper examines policy responses to both the care gap and domestic violence that seek to address the common problem of unbalanced gender relations, with the shared solution of increased male care work. It specifically focuses on family and paternity leave programs and care work–oriented domestic violence prevention initiatives, arguing that male care work has the potential to help repair the damaged gender relations that contribute to the overlapping problems of the care gap and domestic violence through the creation and promotion of more respectful, egalitarian relationships.

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