Women continue to spend more time completing unpaid housework than men

Jun 13, 2024 | Canadian News, News

A recent StatCan report said one of the primary areas working at home affected may have been unpaid housework.

The report covering the period between July 2022 and 2023 said individuals working from home may have reallocated saved time from their commute toward housework or completed tasks during the paid workday.

Working from home was associated with about 16 minutes more in unpaid housework compared to individuals who left their homes to work, the report said.

The report said completely remote individuals gained the most time back, around 21 per cent more time spent on housework compared to those with hybrid employment or working away from home.

The report said although there was an increase in the amount of time spent regardless of gender, women still spent more time than men completing unpaid housework.

Dana Wray, senior analyst at Statistics Canada, said the data was received through an uncommon survey method.

The method involved asking individuals how they worked during the previous week and then having them keep a diary of their time usage during the day of the survey, Wray said.

Wray said this method allows the researchers to capture whether the individuals work completely at home, or in some hybrid form, go to work some days and not others.

“[T]he way that we collected the time diary really does allow us to dig quite deeply,” Wray said.

An older StatCan report said the nature of the unpaid labour may be why women spend more time completing housework than men.

For example, the report said it found women in Canada were 72.5 per cent more likely to prepare meals and snacks than men at 55.4 per cent in 2015.

However, the report also said men were more likely to complete household chores such as taking out the garbage, outdoor maintenance, repair, or renovation at 3.3 per cent versus women who were 1.3 per cent.

Souha R. Ezzedeen, an associate professor at York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, studies the intersection of the work-nonwork interface.

She said many variables may be affecting this disparity. There may still be some traditionalism in the relationships between Canadians or Canada may still have some effects from the pandemic.

However, Canadians need to reimagine how they see housework, from a tiring chore to a task that can create the sense of accomplishment Canadians may not be getting elsewhere in their lives, Ezzedeen said.

“There is something so wonderful about taking charge of the place in which we live,” Ezzedeen said. “And realizing that the way we feel reflects the place in which we live.”