Work-life balance has been one of the most challenging aspects of career life for both men and women, but a recent study shows how it is more challenging for women to achieve a healthier work week than men.
The study conducted by the Australian National University shows that “the healthy work limit for women is just 34 hours per week versus up to 47 hours per week for men — thanks to the time women lose on domestic and care duties.”
The Australian National University used a survey from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia where researchers found that two-thirds of Australia’s full time workers punch in more than 40 hours in a week.
This shows that because of the high demand for women to be the household keeper, they allot hours which should be contributed to work for house chores. With this research, it also shows that women are contributing unpaid hours of work in a week.
Since they could not accomplish as much of a workload as men would generally have, they catch up with the backlogs by working outside office hours.
Lead Researcher Dr. Huong Dinh said that the lengthy work hours for women is putting a strain on their mental and physical health because there is now less time to take care of themselves.
“Given the extra demands placed on women, it’s impossible for women to work [the] long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health.”
According to OEDC Development Center, women contribute an average of 4.5 hours in labor for doing house chores like cooking, picking up kids from school, and more.
“Every day individuals spend time cooking, cleaning and caring for children, the ill and the elderly. Despite this importance for well-being, unpaid care work is commonly left out of policy agendas due to a common misperception that, unlike standard market work measures, it is too difficult to measure and less relevant for policies.”
Even though there is a large need for women and mothers to join the workforce, the massive gap between the pay for men and women still says a lot. At the same time, society still has a high demand for women to perform at home.
“Women typically spend disproportionately more time on unpaid care work than men. On account of gendered social norms that view unpaid care work as a female prerogative, women across different regions, socio-economic classes and cultures spend an important part of their day on meeting the expectations of their domestic and reproductive roles.”
With less hours put in to work, women are now receiving a significant disadvantage in the workforce.
Women are still trying to please both worlds and break the glass ceiling. However, Professor Lyndall Strazdins told Broadly that pushing for too much could cost women their health.
“But if we encourage women to try to attain those work hours, we’re basically confronting women with a trade off between their health and gender equality.”
Professor Strazdiz said the solution is for men to join in. Men who have families should try to bring their long work hours and contribute to household work.
Sheryl Sandberg’s #LeanInTogether movement encourages both parents to divide house work equally.
Lean In notes that men’s participation in the house work is not only for the sake of giving their wives more hours to work. It has a holistic benefit for the entire family.
“Couples who share responsibilities have stronger marriages — and their children benefit from seeing their parents model equality.”
Couples should begin to discuss the goals, not only for their own individual careers, but also for their home and family. This way, the communication about the responsibilities for work and house chores can be openly talked about.
[Feature Image by iStock/omgimages]