Gender Inequalities in Production and Reproduction
Edited by Jacqueline Scott, Shirley Dex and Anke C. Plagnol
Chapter 3: Halfway to Gender Equality in Paid and Unpaid Work? Evidence from the Multinational Time-use Study
1 Jonathan Gershuny and Man Yee Kan INTRODUCTION Our daily activity patterns are closely related to the organisation of the economic systems in our societies. Over the past four decades, there have been significant changes in the economic structure and the labour market in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: most notably, the growth of the service sector and the rise in women’s labour force participation. Such changes have brought some convergence in working time patterns among different countries. For example, time use research has shown that paid work time in the UK, the USA and most industrial countries has decreased for both male and female workers (Gershuny 2000; Harkness 2008; Robinson and Godbey 1997). As for unpaid domestic work, there has been a slight fall for women over the same period, especially for those in employment, and a moderate but continual increase in men’s participation. However, women on average are still responsible for the major share of unpaid work (Gershuny 2000; Gershuny and Sullivan 2003; Harkness 2008; Sullivan 2000). These studies suggest that the gender gap in paid work time and unpaid work time is closing slowly. Nevertheless, recent research has indicated that there is continuing gender segregation in domestic work. Kan and Gershuny (2009a, 2009b) analysed longitudinal data of the British Household Panel Survey to investigate the changes in the domestic division of labour over the life course. They found that women undertake the bulk of both core housework (for example, cleaning, washing and cooking) and...
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