Minutes of leisure in the OECD

// 7 May 2009

The OECD has done some interesting research, showing that there is a leisure time gender gap. Namely, in most industrialised countries, men have more leisure time than women.

Here’s the graph, representing minutes of leisure time a day:


I can’t see the report, which presumably explains the gap, but at least in Italy it is because women take on more of the housework burden, according to the Wall St Journal.

Comments From You

headey // Posted 8 May 2009 at 10:28 am

While I can imagine this survey being carried out with the best of intentions, and I’m not really surprised at the results, I do have a seed of sceptisism.

For example, when I worked in Indonesia, I remember staying in a village where I heard a group of women chatting and laughing. When I peeked into the room I noticed they were also shelling tamarind pods. Now, the question is: if you were carrying out a survey of work and leisure, were these women enjoying some leisure time or working? Shelling pods could hardly be described as an onerous.task, but it is work. However, they were clearly enjoying themselves; was it leisure? How should it be classified?

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 May 2009 at 2:13 pm

@headey – Meaning that if you happen to have a good time or talk while you’re working, it’s not work?!

That makes no sense.

headey // Posted 8 May 2009 at 3:47 pm

@Jess McCabe

“if you happen to have a good time or talk while you’re working, it’s not work?! ”

Now, now. That’s not what I said. Simply that you have to be careful what you include in each category.

To expand on my original example; I would often see groups of men sitting around chatting. Were they working or at leisure? It is quite possible they were discussing the planting and work rota for a common piece of land. The problem was, unless you were to delve deeply, you could be misled. After all, if you happened to eves-drop while they were discussing some non-work topic, you’d allocate that time as leisure, whereas, a few minutes earlier or later they would have been ‘working’.

aimee // Posted 8 May 2009 at 4:41 pm

How can you have minus minutes of leisure time.. and I find it incredibly hard to believe that just over 80 minutes is the highest of the averages! That’s ridiculous. This seems insanely flawed to me. Surely people have a lot more than an hour and a half of leisure time a day?

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 May 2009 at 4:45 pm

aimee, I think the graph represents the difference between average men’s leisure time and average women’s leisure time – i.e, that would mean that men would have 80 more minutes leisure time than women, not 80 minutes total. That’s why there are negative figures, too, as those represent men having less leisure time than women.

Gerri // Posted 9 May 2009 at 2:19 am

Whose definition of ‘leisure’ are we working with here – men’s, women’s or those who conducted the survey?

Sorry but…

Aimee // Posted 9 May 2009 at 6:48 pm

.. Ah! Thanks Jess! I feel a bit stupid now! Hah :)

Madeleine // Posted 9 May 2009 at 6:50 pm

When a police officer at the recent G20 demos smacked a female demonstrator across the face and enjoyed it, was that work or leisure?!

We all know – even those who refuse to admit it for whatever personal reason – that men generally have more time than women to do the things they enjoy.

S-P-E-C-I-O-U-S arguments anyone?

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds