And in our spare time we . . .


Men and women work similar hours but men get paid for more of what they do.

That’s the unsurprising finding in Statistics New Zealand’s time use survey.

Data collected from two-day time use diaries showed how much time people spent sleeping, on childcare, working, watching television or video, eating, socialising, and on sports and hobbies. 

“This time use survey provides information to help assess New Zealanders’ standard of living. It adds to knowledge from other survey types, such as economic change indicators, to provide a wider view of our country’s progress and the well-being of its people,” Social and Population statistician Paul Brown said.

Men and women spent 6 hours and 44 minutes each day in 2009/10 on paid and unpaid work activities (productive activities). Productive activity includes work for pay (and commuting to work) as well as household work, child care, purchasing goods and services, and other unpaid work.

“However, while 63 percent of men’s work was paid, 65 percent of women’s work was unpaid,” Mr. Brown said. Women spent 4 hours and 20 minutes daily doing unpaid work in 2009/10, less than their 4 hours and 36 minutes in 1998/99, in the first time use survey. Mr Brown said spending 13 minutes less on household work was a key factor. Men spent 2 hours and 32 minutes a day on unpaid productive activity in 2009/10.

I wonder if doing less household work indicates increased efficiency, more sharing of duties with men or just lower standards?

“The only unpaid work activities where men spent more time than women were home maintenance and grounds maintenance.”

People aged 65 and over spent the most time on unpaid work, at 4 hours and 31 minutes a day. People aged 12 to 24 years spent 1 hour and 46 minutes on unpaid work activities, the lowest of all age groups.

Can we take heart from the acknowledgement that a lot of the unpaid work we do is regarded as productive?

I suspect that not too long ago it wouldn’t have been seen as such.

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