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Australian women spend twice as much time on childcare and chores than men

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Wahlquist, Calla
Publication Date: 
19 Sep 2017


ABS says women spend average of two hours and 52 minutes a day on domestic work and 59 minutes on childcare.

Women continue to bear the mental load in Australian households, spending almost twice as much time as men on daily domestic activities and childcare.

According to the latest report on gender indicators, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week, women spend, on average, two hours and 52 minutes of their day on domestic work and 59 minutes on childcare.

In contrast, men spend one hour and 37 minutes on domestic work and 22 minutes on childcare.

In May, this concept of women undertaking the bulk of household work – not just in doing menial chores but in organising and effectively managing the home – was the subject of a viral illustration by the French comic book artist Emma.

The pattern begins early: according to the ABS, 95% of non-public sector employees who took parental leave as the primary carer in 2014-15 were women. Men made up 96% of the employees who took secondary parental leave.

The report notes “primary parental leave is the type of leave most likely to affect people’s career trajectories”.

Men in managerial positions were more likely to take paternity leave than those on a lower rung, particularly if they happened to work in the finance or insurance industry. Women in the mining industry had the highest uptake of maternity leave, while retail workers had the lowest.

Seniority was also a factor in women taking maternity leave: one in 15 female managers accessed some form of parental leave in 2015-16 compared with one in 25 non-managers.

In total, 84,886 women and 33,306 men took some form of parental leave in 2015-16.

Single mothers were the least likely of all parents with dependent children to have a casual job, meaning they had no paid leave entitlements. Twenty-six per cent of single mothers had no leave entitlements, compared with 21% of single dads, 19% of coupled mothers and 17% of coupled fathers.

Women aged 24 to 44, the age where they are most likely to have dependent children at home, are 2.5 times more likely to be out of the workforce than men of the same age. The gap is widest between the ages of 30 and 34.

The outcome of this and other employment gaps is a 56% difference in superannuation upon retirement. The average super balance of men aged 55 to 64 in 2013-14 was $321,993, compared with $180,013 for women of the same age.

Women earned $0.89 in the dollar to men, an average wage gap that has been steady for a decade. The median wage gap was slightly smaller, with the median wage for women returning $0.92 in the dollar to the median wage for men.

This was true even in when men and women had achieved the same qualification in the same field.

The starting salary for female undergraduates with a bachelor degree in the architecture and building field was $50,000, compared to $59,000 for male undergraduates.

The gap evened out for engineers. Women made up less than 1% of all engineering graduates but they earned an average starting salary of $62,300, only marginally behind the average starting salary for men of $62,600.

Across all fields, the gap in starting salaries was 6%, with male graduates starting on $60,000 and females on $56,400.

Women were in general more educated. Forty per cent of women aged in their late 20s had a bachelor degree or above, compared to 31% of men.

Of university educated women, 28% had a qualification in business, management, or commerce. The most common university degree for men was engineering, which accounted for 30% of male graduates.

Women were three times more likely to have qualifications in a health field and 4% more likely to have education qualifications.

-reprinted from The Guardian