NZ women spending more time on unpaid work

By Heather McCracken

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand women are still spending more time on housework than men, despite working more outside the home as well.

And Kiwi men are spending less time in unpaid work than they were 10 years ago, while women are spending more, according to a new OECD report.

The latest wellbeing report, titled How's Life?, shows New Zealand women do 15 more hours of unpaid work a week than men - one of the highest gender gaps for unpaid work in the OECD.

The report says women still bear the brunt of unpaid household chores, despite spending more time in paid work outside the home as well.

On average in the OECD, women do 24.5 hours of paid work per week and 31.5 hours of unpaid work.

Men work 33.7 hours in paid employment, and 21 hours in unpaid work - 50 per cent less than women.

The highest gender gap for unpaid work was in Italy, where women put in more than 20 more unpaid hours than men each week.

New Zealand's gender imbalance of 15 hours was the fifth-equal highest, with Turkey and Canada.

The report said women also reported more multi-tasking at home, such as undertaking childcare at the same time as other tasks.

And among those who multi-tasked, women were more likely to combine childcare with domestic chores such as cooking, while men were more likely to combine childcare with leisure, such as reading a newspaper.

"As a result, men tend to associate more positive feelings with multi-tasking than women do,'' the report said.

Over the past decade, women's paid work had been increasing and unpaid work decreasing, while the reverse was true for men.

However in New Zealand and Australia, women had bucked the trend by spending more time in unpaid work as well as paid work over the past 10 years.

But unlike Australian men, who are putting in more time around the house than 10 years ago, New Zealand men are spending less time in unpaid work.

In paid work, New Zealand women were faring better than others around the world, with the gender wage gap the smallest in the OECD.

The biennial OECD report ranks the group's 34 countries across 11 indicators.

It also found New Zealander spent more of their income on housing than any other OECD country, apart from Greece.

Average household disposable incomes were lower than average, but New Zealand was ranked highly for overall wellbeing.

- APNZ

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