The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released interesting research showing that women do most of the household work, men do most of the paid work, and overall they balance up.
Here are some extracts(with highlights):
Between 1992 and 2006, the proportion of women who were employed increased from 48% to 55%. This led to an increase in the average time women spent on paid work, by an hour and 45 minutes, to an average of 16 hours and 25 minutes a week. This is much lower than a 'standard' working week due to the number of women who are either not employed or employed part-time.
While women were assuming a greater role in the workplace, they did not compensate by reducing work around the home. Women spent around the same amount of time on household work (which includes caring for children as well as domestic activities and shopping) in 2006 (an average of 33 hours and 45 minutes a week) as they had in 1992.Over the same period, men took on more household work. Between 1992 and 2006, the average time men spent on household work rose by an hour and 25 minutes to 18 hours and 20 minutes a week. The time men spent in paid work remained steady at an average of around 31 hours and 50 minutes a week. In 2006 women still did around two-thirds of household work, while men did two-thirds of paid work. In terms of total workload, both men and women spent an average of 50 hours and 10 minutes a week in a combination of paid work and household work.
Although different gender roles are apparent in the division of household work (with women doing most of the indoor tasks and men dominating the outdoor activities) there is evidence that these roles have become less rigid in recent years. In 2006 men were spending more time on traditionally 'female' domestic activities such as cooking and laundry than in 1992, and less time on outdoor activities such as lawn mowing, and home maintenance.As women, on average, increased the time spent in paid work between 1992 and 2006, the average time spent on domestic activities by women declined, particularly laundry and ironing, and other housework such as cleaning. However, this was partly offset by an increase in time spent on household management activities such as paying bills. Women also spent more time on other household work such as child care, so that the time spent on household work overall did not change significantly.
While men are doing slightly more household work than in the past, in 2006 women still did around 1.8 times as much as men (compared with twice as much in 1992). Although women are spending less time cleaning and doing laundry, they still spent almost six times as long on laundry as men in 2006, and more than three times as long on other housework such as cleaning. Women also spent almost two and a half times as long on food preparation and clean up, despite men doing more of the cooking than in the past.
While men are taking on a greater role with respect to child care than in the past, women on average spent more than two and a half times as long caring for children as men did in 2006. There were also differences in the type of child care activities parents did, with fathers spending a greater proportion of their child care time on play activities (41% compared with 25% for mothers), and mothers spending more of their time on physical and emotional care activities (43%, compared with 27% for fathers).