Do Women Really Work More?

September 11th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

We often hear the claim that women do two jobs, one in the marketplace and one in the home, while men do only one. The conclusion is that women work more than men and men need to start doing a lot more housework. However, as with many feminist claims regarding gender equality, actual research does not back up this assertion.

An international study by three economists, Michael Burda of Humboldt University in Berlin, Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas, and Philippe Weil of the Free University of Brussels; demonstrate that in the Western world, men and women work the same number of hours every day.

An article in Slate summarizes the findings in this way:

Throughout the world, men spend more time on market work, while women spend more time on homework. In the United States and other rich countries, men average 5.2 hours of market work a day and 2.7 hours of homework each day, while women average 3.4 hours of market work and 4.5 hours of homework per day. Adding these up, men work an average of 7.9 hours per day, while women work an average of—drum roll, please—7.9 hours per day.

Personally this comes as no great suprise to me, since the national statistics in Sweden (no translation, sorry) consistently show that men and women work the same number of hours every week.

The authors of the study have also investigated the widespread myth that women work much more than men:

In a survey by the authors of this study, 54 percent of economists and 62 percent of economics students thought that women work more than men, as did more than 70 percent of sociologists. And while the gender equal-work phenomenon has been noted before, “it has been swamped by claims in widely circulated sociological studies … that women’s total work significantly exceeds men’s,” as the authors put it.

My interpretation is that feminism has been so successful at getting its message across (women work more), that no one has really bothered to check the facts.

Unfortunately, the list of feminist myths is growing long:

  1. Women work more than men
  2. Intimate partner violence means men beating up women
  3. Women earn less than men when performing exactly the same job
  4. Women don’t lie about being raped
  5. Girls are shortchanged in schools
  6. The main reason for women not reaching the top of society is the “glass ceiling”
  7. And the biggest one of them all: the female gender role is much worse than the male gender role

4 Responses to “Do Women Really Work More?”

  1. Danny Says:

    What I find odd about most of those claims about women doing more work is that while they happily add up everything women do outside of outside the home paid work they will explicitly ignore everything men do outside of outside home paid work.

  2. Feckless Says:

    Good one….I like your myth collection. Not surprisingly there is data dbunking all of this myths.

    Same topic different studies -> http://feck-blog.blogspot.com/2008/09/men-vs-womenwho-works-more.html

  3. Toysoldier Says:

    My interpretation is that feminism has been so successful at getting its message across (women work more), that no one has really bothered to check the facts.

    I would argue that feminists have been so successful because no one bothered to check the facts. There is a strong enough push to be politically correct and not question certain — typically progressive liberal — positions that falsehoods go unchecked. Worse yet, when it is questioned it very rarely makes national news. Had this study suggested the opposite it would have been all over the cable news networks and featured prominently on the major news websites.

  4. Jim Says:

    “We often hear the claim that women do two jobs, one in the marketplace and one in the home, while men do only one.”

    And these claims rely on a crude reductionism that asserts that a job is a job and all jobs can be lumped together. You will hear how “women working full-time” etc. But what exactly does full time mean? does it mena leaving at 3:00 to pick up a kid from some school event? Doe sit mean taking six months off or a year of for personal reasons? Does it mean working 10 or 11 hour days? If they specify, it destroys the argument.


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