Women work more than men and it's impacting their health, study says

Women work more than men and it's impacting their health, study says
From Global News - February 6, 2017

Women are working longer hours than menand its hurting their health.

According to a recent study by the Australian National University, women (on average) work fewer hours at the office. But when taking unpaid domestic labour and care-giving into account, theyre going above and beyond their workhour-health limits.

The gender composition of the workforce has not changed, and many women (as well as some men) combine care-giving with paid work, a change viewed as fundamental for gender equality, researchers say in the study. However, it raises questions on the suitability of the work time limit and the extent it is protective of health.

READ MORE: Women work 39 more days a year than men, World Economic Forum report

Researchers looked at the data from about 8,000 Australian adults using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. They found the average Australian full-time employee works more than 40 hours a week, but longer hours were more of an issue for women than they were for men.

Despite the fact that women on average are as skilled as men, women on average have lower paid jobs and less autonomy than men, and they spend much more time on care and domestic work, lead author Dr. Huong Dinh writes in a statement.

The healthy work limit for women is about 34 hours a week (once their household commitments were considered); for men its 47 hours a week because they spend significantly less time on childcare and chores than women.

The results, however, suggest women are currently working a 36-hour work week and men 41 hours.

Men, the researchers say, are able to dedicate more time at work because they spend less time on housework, which gives them an edge in their career, co-author Lyndall Strazdins tells Broadly.

In fact, men get 100 extra hours a year to advance their careers, she says.

But if we encourage women to try to attain those work hours, were basically confronting women with a trade-off between their health and gender equality, Strazdins says.

Long work hours erode mental and physical health, because it leaves less time to eat well and look after themselves properly, Dinh adds. Given the extra demands placed on women, its impossible for women to work long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health.

Strazdins suggests companies look at bringing mens hours at work down so the efforts can be more balanced between the sexes both at work and at home.

Until we can bring mens long hours down, it will lock women out of the workforce, Strazdins tells Broadly.

Canadian outlook

According to 2010 data from Statistics Canada, women spend an average of over 50 hours a week on unpaid childcare. Thats more than double the time men spend, which is about 24 hours a week.

However, not all women allocatethe same amount of time for childcare, the data says.

Other factors to consider

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