Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Double Day Work: How Women Cope with Time Demands

In the last 30 years, women have entered the work force in record numbers, yet even as they have taken on employment outside the home, their household duties have usually remained the same. Several expressions have been coined to describe this double duty, such as double day, second shift or double burden. Men and women do seem to be sharing tasks more, especially when they both work outside the home and have young children.

However, across all families, women still carry out most of the unpaid work, including housework, household management, child care, and elder care. A 2005 study printed in the Journal of Marriage and Family reports that women often put in anywhere from 5 to 13 hours more per week than men on household and family care.

As women face the demands of combining work and family, they develop strategies for organizing their lives and accomplishing many tasks. For example, while paid employment takes priority in the scheduling time, women do negotiate with their employers and adapt their work hours when necessary and acceptable to make themselves available for their families.

Working mothers often use weekends to catch up on household chores from the previous week and prepare for the coming week. Sometimes they lower their expectations of what absolutely must be done and reduce their housework so they can spend free time with their families, and they ask their partners and children to share with the load. Double day work provides many time management challenges for women. However, by using various strategies, women can successfully meet the demands of their busy lives.

Source: Lee, Y.S. & Waite, L. (205) Husbands’ and wives’ time spent in housework; A comparison of measure.

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