No Room of her Own: Married Couples’ Negotiation of Workspace at Home During COVID-19

Ronit Waismel-Manor, Varda Wasserman, Orit Shamir-Balderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined the right to a professional workspace and separation between private and public within the home as an arena of gendered negotiation and struggle between spouses working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Using a qualitative, inductive approach based on grounded theory, we conducted in-depth interviews with fifteen professional couples in Israel about their experiences with working from home and the division of labor and space between spouses. Our analysis revealed three key issues related to these experiences: the division of physical workspace between the spouses, the division of work time (compared to home time), and bodily-spatial aspects of the infiltration of workspace into home through the Zoom camera. The patterns described here suggest that the gendered power relations between spouses working from home are reproduced through an unequal negotiation of space and time in the home, so that in practice, men’s work was prioritized in spatio-temporal terms, whereas women’s workspace and time was more fragmented and dispersed throughout the home and day. These findings illuminate women’s right to workspace in the home as an issue of gender equality that has been amplified by the current global pandemic, and how gendered divisions of space and time serve to reproduce the gender order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-649
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • COVID-19
  • Gender and space
  • Gender inequality
  • Public and private space
  • Space and work
  • The right to space
  • Work at home
  • Work-family balance
  • Work-family conflict
  • dual-earner couples


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