Interesting data caught my attention today. Bureau Of Labor Statistics published American Time use survey results for 2011. The result tallies with the general belief that men do more outside work and women helps more with household work. The difference is not much, and I am sure the work division is least among other countries.
I am going to present some of the important facts that came out of the survey.
Time spent at job Report
On days that they worked, employed persons spent an average of 7.6 hours working. More hours were worked, on average, on weekdays than on weekend days – 8.0 hours compared with 5.7 hours.
Employed men worked 47 minutes more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women – 8.3 hours compared with 7.8 hours.
On the days that they worked, 21 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home, and 85 percent did some or all of their work at their workplace. Men and women were about equally likely to do some or all of their work at home.
Household Activities Report
On an average day, 83 percent of women and 65 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.
On the days that they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours.
On an average day, 19 percent of men did housework–such as cleaning or doing laundry–compared with 48 percent of women. Forty percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 66 percent of women.
Leisure Activities Report
On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and over engaged in some sort of leisure activity (95 percent), such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Of those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (5.8 hours) than did women (5.2 hours).
Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.8 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for nearly three-quarters of an hour per day.
Men were a little more likely than women to take part in sports, exercise, or recreation on any given day – 20 percent compared with 17 percent. On the days that they participated, men also spent more time in these activities than did women – 1.9 hours compared with 1.3 hours.
My take on the survey
We spent most of our leisure time in front of TV. My fellow personal finance bloggers advice cutting on cable bill and spending that time in money earning activity. The reason being financial independence. Now when you achieve financial independence, what would you do? You do not have to be engaged in money earning activities any more so, you have all the time to watch TV then.
So the advice really boils down to postponing TV time for old age! There can be arguments for, as well as, against this. Our brain needs some rejuvenation and stimulant. One natural way is to watch TV programming. On the other hand you can also enjoy doing writing, etc. which can rejuvenate you as well as it may earn you money.
Now on the men vs. women issue. Women spent 0.5 hours less than a man at work (8.3 vs 7.8 hrs). And spend exactly that much time more than men in household activities (2.6 vs. 2.1 hrs.).
I am not a sexist, and think men and women as equal but, I do feel the nature of labor is a fair difference. Average women are definitely better at many household tasks than average men. Average men are better at certain outdoor physical work than women. I do feel this is how it should be in other countries as well. Where men and women work classification has a narrow margin like this.
But, alas, women are yet to get their place in many other countries, especially third-world countries where education is still a luxury.
It would be interesting to analyze similar data in middle eastern countries especially. If you want to dig more in to the report, head over here.
Readers, this is the first time I did this sort of post. This is a controversial topic, and, I am interested to know other opinions as well. I encourage you to take part in conversation.
Interesting stats! It’s important to remember with studies like these that’s it’s an average, like you said. Not a direct representation. There’s women out there who work many more hours than the average man, and I know tons of stay at home dads that thrive in the position.
[email protected]&More says
It makes sense to me. I enjoy reading these as long as people can be civilized and realize it isn’t necessarily your opinion but merely results of a study.
Did the study show how these numbers have changed over time? It seems to me that the gap between women and men working is narrowing.
I need to take a relook on the stats, I suppose yes it also recorded the historical behavior.
Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says
Like Femme Frugality said, you will have to check if this sample is representative of the whole population. I would be interested in the methodology behind it.
I know for myself and my friends the amount of work done outside the home is pretty even between the man and the women. Many of us work full time and so do our partners. Wage earnings are similar too.
Veronica @ Pelican on Money says
It kind of makes sense. I mean… our society is changing where women are focusing on their careers more so than before (and that’s been happening for a while now) but we can’t expect it to flip flop considering it is still a man’s world out there.
As for men working longer hours than women, I think the disparity comes from men wanting to compete with subordinates for higher position, thus putting in more hours than expected. Mucho men! What can you do about those hormones of theirs lol!
I was reading an interesting article about women at work vs. men at work. It states that during childhood girls stop playing if it become too competitive they value relationship more. where as boys fight it out till a result is achieved. The same instinct is carried to the work place as well. I agree we always compete with peers to get the best grade, promotion and raise.
Tie the Money Knot says
I have heard of this as well. Someone I know was telling a story about a friend of hers, whose daughters learned how to play the game “Monopoly”. They apparently had what they called “girl rules”, where if a player couldn’t pay the rent, they were allowed to keep playing another round or two.
Very different than when I played, where we tried to bankrupt the opposing players and dominate the game as quickly and decisively as possible!
Bingo, yup that’s the fundamental difference in our thinking.
Edward Antrobus says
While I agree that male physiology is better suited towards physical labor, the reason that women are, on average, better homemakers then men has nothing to do with biology. There is no reasonable argument that can be made to say that women are physiologically better suited to sweeping and cooking. The reason is purely sociological where housework is associated as a “female” skill and more attention is brought towards teaching those skills to girls then to boys.
You hit the right nail. Yes I agree that this is not purely due to physiology, its also some kind of pre conceived notion and prejudices.
I work more hours at my full-time job most of the time than my bf. My job is a physical one, where my bf’s is a desk job. Since my job is physical, it is more of a male-dominated environment. I also have a part-time side gig as a fitness instructor. Although they are not outdoor physical jobs, both my jobs are still physical and can be quite strenuous on the body.
We joke that one day I will be the sole breadwinner and he will be the stay at home husband.
Its not a joke anymore, people doing it. If kids need someone at home and lesser income earner has to sacrifice, if at all.