Thursday, July 26, 2007

Do women work harder than men?

I want everything, just like men get to have, except without having an easy life buttressed by inequality.

The quote is from a commenter at a feminist website. It can be an odd experience reading these sites. There are feminist women who seriously believe that men are a privileged class and therefore have it easy compared to women. As the operator of one of these sites put it:

... the dude merely has to show up at the wedding.

I couldn't help, therefore, but notice the striking contrast between the attitude of these feminist women and that of Bettina Arndt in a recent Herald Sun column.

Bettina Arndt didn't like recent media reports portraying men negatively as domestic shirkers, so she looked up the data on male and female workloads. She found, contrary to assumptions, that fathers generally work harder than mothers:

You have to look very hard in the ABS website to find data on total work for men and women.

All they have at the moment is 1997 Time Use data, which will be updated later this year.

But surprise, surprise, it shows most fathers work harder than mothers.

The only group of mums who put in more hours were the small proportion, just over a quarter, who work full-time, clocking in more than 71 hours total work, compared with the full-time working dad's 69.

These dads averaged three hours more than mums working part-time and 10 hours more than homemaker mums.

Why is this not a story?

It's a similar outcome with the Australian Institute of Family Studies data. This shows that men put in more hours if the couple is childless and when the children are aged 5 to 14. It's only when the children are aged under 5 that women put in significantly more hours (7 hours per week).

Bettina Arndt doesn't want marriage to be based on hostile account keeping:

Yes, women put in tedious hours sorting whites from darks and wiping tiny noses.

But many men face hours behind the wheel in snarling traffic, often working long hours in dreary jobs to pay the mortgage.

It makes no sense, this endless gnawing at the bone, examining, dissecting, predicting married life on the basis of how many dishes washed, how many floors swept.

In real life, in good relationships, there's always much more that adds to the ledger of marital happiness.


  1. FYI

    For those interested, the Time Use Data Arndt refers to in 'Stop Putting Down the Dads', Herald Sun (23 July 2007), is located at the Australian Bureau of Statistics web site here.

    The catalogue numbers are: 4150.0, 4151.0, 4153.0, 5240.0, and 4152.0.

  2. Excuse the incessant postings (I'm going through this in the odd moments of repose at work), but just to narrow down the statistical info I've linked in my first post re the ABS, the actual information that is being referred to in Arndt's piece I think is this: 'How Australians Use Their Time 1997', Australian Bureau of Statistics (cat. no. 4153.0).

  3. Certain women (say, feminists alienated from humanity) work harder than men at certain things. Whingeing about men comes to mind.

  4. I'm just sick of whining (or whinging) from "victim groups" in general. When did we become such a generation of babies anyways? Our foundational culture was notorious for its reserve -- and resolve in the face of adversity. Bring back the stiff upper lip, the "let-it-all-hang-out" society is NO improvement.

  5. I would really love to know exactly what hours are considered working hours? I wake up every morning, get both of my kids up, make their lunches, drop them off at school, go to my full time job, pick the kids up from the day care after work, go home, make dinner, do laundry, clean up the mess from the day, pay the bills, take my daughter to gymnastics every tuesday, and still try to manage to have some non busy time with my kids. Im a single mom now, but this is the same routine I had while married. I had to struggle to wake my husband up (usually took about 30 min), make his lunch to, he went to work, and didnt come back home until around6 or 7 (which was not an option for me since the day care closed at 6). Please tell me how more men work harder than me? I work roughly 14 days, plus weekends.

  6. Behind every good man there is a strong amazing woman.
    Also, women's work will never be valued as much as a man's because we don't get money doing it. money=power and power is what everyone wants.

  7. I believe men have it harder than women because men have less choices than women do. A woman has a choice between being a career woman, a stay-at-home mom or somewhere in between. A man is expected to work. Studies show that employers do not give men as much time off to deal with family issues as they give to women. And stay-at-home dads are less likely to find employment when they decide to go back to work when compared with stay-at-home moms who decide to go back to work. People still believe that a stay-at-home dad is just a lazy man who doesn't want to work but they praise stay-at-home moms. Women live longer and they are more likely to be awarded custody of the children as well as the larger share of the marital assets in the event of a divorce. When a man requests custody of the children and/or spousal support, he is seen as being a lazy, spiteful man who is taking advantage of a woman. And a woman emotionally and physically abusing a man is much more accepted by society. Many believe that a man shouldn't hit a woman even in self-defense! And all those women who complain about raising children and being single moms, well, why don't you just allow the men to have custody of the children if it is so hard for you to raise them and why don't you pay the men child support? And if you believe that the men are incapable of raising children, then why did you have children with incompetent men? Single fathers do a better job of raising children than single moms do. Single fathers are less likely to get involved with deviant partners when compared with single mothers. Single mothers are always hooking up with the wrong men - drug addicts, ex-convicts, etc. and then they blame all men for their bad choices.

  8. Margo said: "Behind every good man there is a strong amazing woman."

    Yeah, more like behind every good man is a golddigging woman who will take away his wealth during a divorce.

    Women always take credit for their men's successes but men are not allowed to take credit for their women's successes.

    Since the early 1960s, women have controlled the vote and the wealth of the nation - mostly the wives and daughters of rich men.

    Gee, I wish I could marry a rich woman, divorce her, take custody of the kids, and obtain generous alimony and child support payments as well as a large share of the marital estate. Madonna's husband was smart and more men should be like him.

    Better yet, I should work for a successful, rich woman, sue her for sexual harrassment and then settle for a large amount of money. Many companies choose to settle sexual harassment claims, even if they are unfounded, in order to avoid public humiliation. That's the way to do it.