Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Converging gender roles

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Canadian women participate in the labour force at a rate nearly equal to men. In fact, their participation rate for paid work is one of the highest in the world. But does that mean that their partners are sharing more of the housework?

Today’s couples aged 25 to 54 have a more equal partnership in the sharing of financial, child care and household responsibilities. However, gender differences in the division of labour are still evident, if diminishing.

Women continue to do significantly more housework than men. In 1986, 54% of men did some housework daily; by 2005, 69% did so. Women’s participation in daily housework remained steady at around 90%. Men’s involvement in child care has also grown.

Interestingly, although more people are doing housework and the trend is toward larger homes, the time they spend doing housework has decreased. One reason could be today’s services-oriented economy. Canadians are hiring others to do housecleaning, snow removal and groundskeeping, and are availing themselves of time-saving appliances, pre-packaged foods and take-out meals. As well, housework standards appear to have relaxed as people’s priorities have shifted.

In dual-earner families, men’s participation in housework has grown from 70% in 1992 to 74% in 2005, whereas women’s has dropped from 94% to 90%.

Dual-earner couples feel more time-stressed—particularly the women in these couples. However, despite the pressures of trying to maintain a work–life balance, most dual-earner couples in Canada are satisfied with their life as a whole.