Women’s double shift of work a myth

Feminists are wrong to claim that men should do a larger share of the housework and childcare because on average, men and women already do the same number of hours of productive work, argues LSE sociologist  Catherine Hakim in a special issue of Renewal: a journal of social democracy.

She said that if we consider the hours spent doing both paid work and unpaid household, care and voluntary work together, men already do more than their fair share.

The development of time use surveys across the European Union has provided data on exactly how much time people spend carrying out both paid and unpaid productive activities.

The findings show that on average women and men across Europe do the same total number of productive work hours once paid jobs and unpaid household duties are added together – roughly eight hours a day.

While men carry out substantially more hours of paid work, women will often choose to scale down their hours of paid employment to make time for household work when starting a family.

In Britain, men are shown to actually work longer hours on average than women, as many will work overtime to boost family income when the children are at home while wives switch to part-time jobs or drop out of employment altogether.

Sign up to our newsletters

Receive news and guidance on a range of HR issues direct to your inbox

OptOut
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Couples with no children at home and with both in full-time jobs emerge as the only group where women work more hours in total than men, once paid and unpaid work hours are added up.

Read more on equal pay and work