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Study Highlights Significant Gender Inequalities in Domestic Sphere
19/06/2008The Equality Authority and the ESRI will today launch a ground breaking report on 'Gender Inequalities in Time Use - The Distribution of Caring, Housework and Employment among Women and Men in Ireland'.
This report analyses time diaries from just over 1000 men and women, aged 18 to 97, from the Irish National Time Use Survey 2005 to gather information on paid and unpaid work. This analysis looks in detail at the breakdown of tasks between women and men. It is the first systematic study of gender differences in unpaid work among all adults in Ireland. It also looks at the distribution of time between women and men in couples.
Key findings are:
"Parenthood brings a reallocation of time for both men and women" said Dr. Frances McGinnity of the ESRI. "Having children leads to a large increase in committed time and decrease in leisure time for both men and women. On average fathers do more paid work than other men and mothers spend more time doing unpaid work than other women".
Niall Crowley, Chief Executive Officer of the Equality Authority, said "This report identifies gender inequalities in the domestic sphere that significantly disadvantage women. Women continue to do the bulk of the unpaid work, men do most of the paid work in Ireland. When women work on average 39 minutes longer per day, for example, this could amount to up to one extra month committed time per year. These gender inequalities in the domestic sphere also contribute to inequalities for women in the employment sphere".
"Public policy needs to be supportive of gender equality in the domestic sphere if we are to achieve full equality in practice between women and men. Statutory leave entitlements, for example, should be reviewed to ensure they are supportive of gender equality in the domestic sphere. Paternity leave and paid parental leave are required to enhance the role of men in caring and household work. The take up by men of flexible working arrangements needs to be promoted and supported, in particular in male dominated workplaces. New state support to increase the availability of accessible and affordable childcare is required".
In comparing data from Ireland with other European Union countries, the report finds that Ireland has a relatively traditional gender division of labour. Despite the rising number of dual earner couples Ireland still has a very high proportion of male breadwinner couples compared to other EU countries. Cultural norms and behaviour would also appear to lag behind changes already evident in the labour market participation of women. Only future waves of time use data will reveal whether changing economic circumstances will result in a change in behaviour.
Notes for editors:
For further information contact:
Dr. Frances McGinnity, ESRI, 01 863 2066
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