International Women’s Day: The Gender Gap

As we celebrate International Women’s day on 8th March, OECD data comparing how people use their time highlights striking differences between men and women.
Women are slowly closing the gap with men as more have careers. But there is still a huge gender gap in unpaid work, clearly showing that men are still struggling to lift much more than a finger from time to time in some countries.

International Women’s Day: The Gender Gap

OECD data comparing how people use their time highlights striking differences between countries and particularly between men and women.

Women are slowly closing the gap with men as more have careers. But there is still a huge gender gap in unpaid work, clearly showing that men are still struggling to lift much more than a finger from time to time in some countries: Mexican women spend the most time doing unpaid work, such as housework or shopping, at 373 minutes a day, with Australia next at 311 minutes. This compares to their menfolk: Mexican men who spend an average of 113 minutes on unpaid work and Japanese men who spend only 62 minutes, the least of all. In Europe, Turkish women spend the most time, at 377 minutes, more than double the time spent by Norwegian men (180) who are the most helpful males in Europe and elsewhere.

When it comes to time spent on personal care, including eating and sleeping, the gap between the sexes is much smaller, and it’s clearly more important in Southern Europe. France and Italy are the personal care champions: French women spend the most, at 755, well ahead of Italian women who are second at 697. Their men spend almost as much time – with French males ahead at 738 vs 697 for the Italians.

The Northern Europeans are the queens of leisure: with women in Norway spending more time relaxing in front of the TV or entertaining friends than anyone else (367 minutes a day), followed by the UK (339). In virtually every country, men are able to fit in valuable extra minutes of leisure each day while women spend more time doing unpaid housework.

The data is taken from national time-use surveys, based on nationally representative samples of between 4000 and 20000 people. The full dataset is available and live at www.oecd.org/gender/data/OECD_1564_TUSupdatePortal.xls