Women and time use in contemporary capitalist societies

Valerie Bryson

in Gender and the politics of time

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9781861347503
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302391 | DOI:
Women and time use in contemporary capitalist societies

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This chapter considers whether quantitative time-use studies support feminist claims that women's unpaid work represents a major economic contribution in capitalist societies, that they continue to do significantly more of this work than men, that women have less disposable time than men, and that policies in the Nordic nations are producing a more equal distribution of time use. It reports that the evidence clearly supports the first two claims, but at first sight undermines the third and fourth. However, the chapter also finds that the studies have been based on particular temporal assumptions that cannot capture important aspects of many women's time use and which seriously misrepresent their experience of ‘free’ time. It also finds that more-detailed studies largely confirm feminist claims about women's disadvantage and the negative consequences of this.

Keywords: time-use studies; feminist claims; women's unpaid work; capitalist society; Nordic nations; free time

Chapter.  9749 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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