Attitudes evolve but change lags behind: HILDA 2018

Attitudes about gender roles are evolving beyond the traditional ‘female homemaker’ and ‘male breadwinner’ model. However, in practice, there has been little change in Australian households.

According to the latest results from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, women spend in a year almost three full working weeks on average more than men on paid work, caring and housework.

The 2016 results from Australia’s only nationally representative long-term household study show that there is still a substantial difference in the way women and men spend their time. Women spend 13 hours more than men a week on unpaid work, while men spend 11 hours more on paid employment.

Dr Inga Lass, co-author of the report, says the results show “a significant discrepancy between the way women and men envision a fair share of work. HILDA shows most women feel overburdened by household chores, while most men think they do their fair share.”

Although men have increased the amount of housework they do by almost an hour per week compared to 2002, this has not shifted the large burden of housework on women.

The numbers in detail (2016 compared to 2002)

On average, men spent:

  • The same amount of time in paid employment (35.9 hours)
  • An extra 0.9 hours on housework each week (up from 12.4 to 13.3 hours)
  • More time caring for children and disabled or elderly relatives (up 0.6 hours from 4.8 hours each week to 5.4 hours)

On average, women spent:

  • More time in paid employment (up from 21.5 to 24.9 hours)
  • 2.4 hours less  on housework each week (down from 22.8 to 20.4 hours)
  • More time caring for children and disabled or elderly relatives (up 1.6 hours from 9.7 hours each week to 11.3 hours)

HILDA is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Australian households, funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Social Services and managed by the Melbourne Institute.

Download the full Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.