Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Housework lessens earnings of women and men

Washington, Mar 8 (ANI): Doing housework not only affects salaries of women but reduces men's wages as well, says a new study.

Conducted by Vanderbilt professor of law and economics Joni Hersch, the study also found that women's salaries are negatively impacted by housework regardless of profession.

In the study, the researchers used time diary data from the American Time Use Survey, which provided detailed information on all activities performed over a 24-hour period.

In the analysis, Hersch defined housework to include activities like cleaning, cooking, childcare, pet care, house, lawn and garden maintenance, grocery shopping, and household management.

It was found that the total time expended by women on these activities was more than the time spent by men, and the bulk of women's total housework time was spent on cleaning and cooking.

On the whole, Hersch found that women spent 53 percent more time on housework than men.

Also, they found that married women completed an average of 97 minutes per day on housework and unmarried women spent an average of 67 minutes a day on housework. Men completed an average of 29 minutes per day, regardless of marital status.

Each extra hour spent on daily housework was found to reduce average wages by about 24 cents per hour for women and about 21 cents per hour for men.

Hersch said the most surprising finding was that housework had a negative impact on the salaries of women, regardless of their occupation.

"The effect is not limited to a few occupations, such as those requiring physical effort. Rather, the effect spans most of the occupations in which women are employed," said Hersch.

It was found that 85 percent of the women in the sample were employed in occupations that suffered a housework-wage penalty, including highly compensated women in managerial and professional positions.

On the other hand, housework was found to reduce men's wages in only some occupations - management, business, financial operations and sales-related occupations.

These careers employed only 24 percent of the men in the sample Hersch used.

Although this study shows that wages are lower for those who do more housework, and women do far more housework than men, Hersch said only a small part of the pay gap between men and women is explained by housework.

The study is published in an upcoming issue of the Review of Economics of the Household. (ANI)

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