Department of Family and Community Services

3.3 Time spent in unpaid household work

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Average time spent in unpaid household work

Current position

In 2011, women with dependent children who worked full-time spent 44 hours on average doing household duties every week.

Men, on average, spent 26 hours on household duties every week.

Gender gap

  • Women spent on average 18 hours per week more than men on household work each week in 2011.
The direction of
change over time

Both women and men reported doing more household work in 2011 compared to nine years ago when the survey started in 2002. However, women’s unpaid household work hours have increased the most: by 9 hours from 35 hours in 2002 to 44 hours in 2011. Men’s hours increased by just 3 hours in the period.

This increase is due to women spending significantly more time on childcare (see Table 4.5). Time spent on housework as such has changed little. Men have also been spending more time on household duties, mainly on errands – 3.9 hours each week in 2011 compared to 2.6 hours in 2002.

There was little change between 2011 and the 2010 data reported in Women in NSW 2012.

Discussion

Women’s workforce participation and paid employment have increased substantially over time, but the amount of unpaid household work performed by women and men has not adjusted accordingly.

Not only do women spend 18 hours more on household duties every week, one-third of their time is spent on housework compared to one-fifth of men’s time. Men spend more of their time on childcare.

As well as the amount of time spent, gender imbalances also include dimensions such as who takes responsibility for planning and managing household work. These are not covered in the data above.

Indicator 3.3 focuses on people for whom time pressures are acute: full-time workers 15 to 64 years with dependent children aged 0 to 14 years. ‘Unpaid household work’ in the HILDA survey includes activities to which people have committed because of their social relationships, including housework, household management, shopping and childcare.

Year collected: 2011 and previous years.
Data source: Household, Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia (HILDA) survey, Waves 2 and 11. More information is available at www.melbourne.com/HILDA

Table 4.5 Unpaid household work, NSW women and men, 2002 and 2011

Type of work 

Women hours 

Men hours 

2002

2011

2002

2011

Childcare 

12.7

20.8

10.1

11.9

Housework 

15.2

14.4

5

5.5

Errands 

4.7

5.4

2.6

3.9

Outdoor 

2.8

3

4.7

4.6

Total hours 

35.4

43.6

22.4

25.9

Note: Average hours undertaken each week on selected household duties.
Population: People in NSW aged 15 to 64, employed full-time with dependent children aged 0 to 14.
Source: HILDA survey, releases 2.0 and 11.0.