No 'double Shift' for Women in Europe

LONDON, Aug. 11 (UPI) — A woman’s “double shift” — the time she puts into family care after her job — does not exist in Western Europe, researchers in Britain found.

Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the London School of Economics, used time-use surveys across the European Union that provide data on exactly how people spend their time.

She finds, on average, women and men across Europe do the same total number of productive work hours once paid jobs and unpaid household duties are added together — roughly 8 hours a day. The European work day is shorter than the American work day.

In Britain, men on average worked longer hours because they often worked overtime to boost family income when the couple had small children, since mothers switch to part-time jobs or quit work altogether, Hakim says.

However, in cases of couples with two full-time jobs and no children at home, women work more hours in total than men, once paid and unpaid family care work hours are added together.

Hakim says earlier studies involving families with young children — and not couples with no children — skew the number of hours women work because the children need more care. This is a temporary situation and as the children grow, they require less care from the mother, she says.

The findings are published in a special issue of Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy.

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