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Woman's Work takes Twice As Long - Survey

First Results from Time Use Survey Released

New Zealand's first national Time Use Survey provides new and valuable information about the way New Zealanders spend their time. Initial results from the survey were released today by Judy Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Women's Affairs, and Len Cook, Government Statistician.

"The Time Use Survey paints a detailed picture of the various activities that people spend time on. It shows diverse patterns, such as between men's and women's lives, and between Mäori and non-Mäori, that will be important for policy development and programme planning," said Judy Lawrence whose Ministry commissioned the survey from Statistics New Zealand in 1997.

"As well as filling a previous gap in information about the extent of unpaid production of goods and services in New Zealand," Len Cook said, "the Time Use Survey forms a multi-purpose collection of statistical information that can be used in almost every area of Government policy making. Everything from transport planning to the provision of health services will benefit from having this information available. Much of the data will be used to enhance understanding of existing statistics, so that policy development can take place in a more informed environment."

The survey results show that full-time employed people who recorded time on paid work spent on average 8.7 hours per day for men, and 8.0 hours per day for women. For those employed part time, both men and women spent 4.6 hours per day on paid work.

Women overall spend a little more time than men doing 'productive work', which includes paid and unpaid work. Where the big difference lies is in the balance between the amount of paid and unpaid work done by women and men. Men average two hours more paid work per day than women, while women spend two hours more per day doing unpaid work.

Women spend around twice as long as men in activities such as meal preparation and other household work, and nearly three times as long looking after other people in the home.

Interestingly, for both men and women, the most common type of unpaid work for people outside the home is looking after a child.

Other initial findings include:

Mäori women and men average more time per day than non-Mäori on caregiving for household members, unpaid work outside the home, and participating in religious and cultural activities.

Rural men spend, on average almost an hour's extra paid work per day, compared to urban men.

In all households, watching TV or videos is the most common free-time activity (an average of 1.4 hours per day).

People aged 45 years or more consistently spend more time on unpaid work outside the home (the population's average is 32 minutes per day).

The Time Use Survey was conducted over a full year, from July 1998 to June 1999. It gathered information on time use by women and men, Mäori and non-Mäori, and rural and urban people aged 12 years and over living in private households.

"The survey was tremendously successful, thanks to the 8,500 people around New Zealand who willingly completed 48-hour time diaries," said Len Cook.

The data identifies:

the actual hours that people spend doing paid work
the amount of time people spend on health maintenance activities
the characteristics of people participating in different types of voluntary work
time spent on caring work and the characteristics of the people who are doing it
where people are at different times of the day and week
the times of the day when people are travelling.

Results from the survey will be released progressively over the next few months. Results will focus on topics such as the labour market, education and training; Mäori; caring, health and welfare; voluntary work; and culture and leisure.

"The results of this survey will be of great interest over a number of years to a very wide range of Government agencies, commercial businesses, non-government organisations, academic researchers and interested individuals," said Judy Lawrence and Len Cook.

A number of countries conduct time use surveys every five years.

Judy Lawrence

CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MINISTRY OF WOMEN'S AFFAIRS

Len Cook

GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

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