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How Big is the Leisure Gap Between Men and Women?

Jun 16, 2014 • 380 Views

Our Monday gender issue focus

Married or single, weekends and weekdays, men have more leisure time than women.

Imagine a typical weekend. Yes, mom might spend a bit less time watching the kids and dad does do more housework. However, when it comes to leisure, during Saturday and Sunday, the dads relax an hour more than the moms. Specifically, dad watches the kids close to 75% as much as mom and does 71% as much housework as his wife. So you can see why she has less leisure time.

During the workweek, mom also has less leisure time than dad. Because dads spend close to one half the time as moms on children and on housework, they have more leisure time and use it mostly to watch TV.

Here is how leisure time is allocated:

The Leisure Time Gender Gap

From: Pew Research

You can see below how parents compare.

The Leisure Gender Gap

From: Pew Research

And here is how all of us compare:

The Leisure Time Gender Gap

From: Pew Research

In addition, there is a difference between moms who work outside the home and those who do not:

Women's work status and leisure time

From: Pew Research

And finally, here is the historical perspective. (We should note that college educated, more affluent individuals have less leisure time than lower wage earners with no more than a high school diploma.)

Leisure Over 5 Decades

From: “Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades” by M Aguiar and E. Hurst

Our bottom line: Although we are not working, leisure is very much a part of our market system through our allocation of time, of money and its gender and income implications.

Does the research confirm your own leisure experience? Please let us know in a comment.

Sources and more...Engagingly and with considerable detail, here, here, here and here, primarily using BLS American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data, Pew Research documents the leisure time gender gap. They also alerted me to the historical perspective in the Aguiar and Hurst paper.  

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