Is Women's Work Never Done? Gender Differences in Total Work Time in Australia and the United States

Liana C. Sayer, Ohio State University
Michael Bittman, University of New South Wales
Suzanne M. Bianchi, University of Maryland

Empirical analyses of gender differences in total work time appear to debunk conventional wisdom that women work more than men. Studies report, however, that gender differences in work time vary cross-nationally. It is plausible that macrosociological differences in gendered expectations about work and family are associated with variation in total work time. The contribution of our analysis is its comparative examination of whether total work time varies by couple employment status and parental status and whether the processes that alter the second shift and total work time vary cross-nationally. In preliminary analyses we find that women's full-time employment is associated with longer work hours more so in the U.S. than Australia. In both countries, having young children carries a time penalty in that they increase total work load. Additionally, men's unpaid work time responds more to the presence of children than it does to changes in levels of women's employment.

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Presented in Session 155: Comparative Perspectives on Couples' Paid and Unpaid Work