Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chart of the Week: gender equity in the United States

I recently spoke at the 2011 Fair Housing Conference in San Diego, on the topic of gender equity. While I am quite familiar with the topic, even I was surprised by a few of the statistics I dug up for my talk. One that stood out clearly, despite substantial gains in gender equity (including the fact that women's educational attainment is now at parity with men's), is a sharp and continuing disparity in unpaid household labor.

According to the most recent statistics (from the American Time Use Survey), women in the United States do 70 percent more housework than men, before childcare is counted. After including childcare, women put in 75 percent more time on unpaid household activity than men. While 85 percent of women do some form of housework on a typical day, only 67 percent of men do.

The obvious next question is, what about paid work? Women today are almost as likely to hold a job outside the home as men are (72 percent of men and 60 percent of women are in the labor force). But men, on average, do still work more outside the home. When we add in the number of hours of paid work, the amount of work done by either sex is about even (average of 5.4 hours each on a typical day, any day of the week).

So the actual amount of work done each day by the sexes may not be terribly skewed, but the amount of work done for pay still shows substantial gender differences.

(For more current data, see December 2011 update.)

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