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July 2006
Vol. 7, no. 7

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Converging gender roles
Katherine Marshall

  • In 2005, persons aged 25 to 54 spent a total of 8.8 hours a day working at their job and doing housework or other unpaid household tasks, up from 8.2 hours in 1986. For men, most of the increase came from unpaid work (up from 2.1 to 2.5 hours). For women, the entire increase was in the form of paid work (up from 3.3 to 4.4 hours).
  • Women with children significantly increased their daily participation in paid labour, from 39% in 1986 to 45% in 2005. While only half of men (with and without children) participated in daily housework in 1986, roughly 7 in 10 did so by 2005.
  • The number of dual-earner couples increased between 1986 and 2005, as did their average time spent on paid work and housework. By 2005, wives put in 46% of the total time couples spent at jobs and 62% of the time they spent on housework.
  • The division of labour within dual-earner couples becomes more equal as wives bring in more personal income. When wives had an income of $100,000 or more, each partner spent about 6.5 hours a day at paid work and 1.5 hours on housework.
  • In addition to feeling more time-stressed, dual-earner women with children were significantly less satisfied with their work-life balance than dual-earner women without children, or dual-earner men with and without children.

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Katherine Marshall is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at 613 951-6890 or

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