The gendered nature of mental labour at home and work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


Mental labour is a phenomenon full of contradictions; it is invisible yet pervasive, burdensome yet often unacknowledged, and frequently featured in the popular press yet largely ignored by academics. We define it as the internal mental process of anticipating, planning and monitoring performed for the sake of accomplishing goals that benefit a collective. Existing mental labour literature—albeit scarce—has focused on the household. However, we draw on theory and research to propose it also applies to the work domain, and that mental labour across both domains has important implications for people’s, particularly women’s, wellbeing and employment outcomes. For instance, mental labour may be a critical barrier to female engagement and progression in the workforce, which is important given the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership roles. Yet, this concept is theoretically underdeveloped such that an understanding of its meaning and implications, particularly in the work domain, is limited. Through a series of focus groups with working parents, this study aims to further understand the drivers and work-related implications of mental labour experienced at home and work, as a critical first step in quantifying the work-relevance of this illusive construct.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2022
EventAPS 14th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 7 Jul 20229 Jul 2022


ConferenceAPS 14th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference
Abbreviated titleAPS IOP Conference
CityGold Coast
Internet address


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