Australian Super Mums Doing More, And More Of It At Home

Australian Super Mums Doing More, And More Of It At Home

Media release — 11 May 2008

Australian mothers are increasingly undertaking paid work in the family home as they juggle the responsibilities of raising children and earning an income.

Speaking on Mothers Day, the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Professor Alan Hayes said, “Today’s mothers are typically doing more types of work than their mothers and grandmothers, and the family home is becoming a place where mothers undertake paid and unpaid work.”

“It’s fitting that on Mothers Day we stop and reflect on the role of women in our society.

“Australian women today are under more pressure to contribute to society in both paid and unpaid work – unlike most of their mothers and grandmothers.

“On the one hand, our economy needs the full participation of women in the workforce, and on the other hand, women are being asked to contribute to population growth.

“Understanding the demands placed on Australian mothers today is important both for family harmony and wellbeing, and in informing community debate about work and family life,” Professor Hayes said.

According to the ABS 22 percent of women who were employed worked mainly from home when they had a child under five.

And whilst employment levels of women drop during the years they are having children, on the domestic front women carry most of the load.

A 2006 Australian Bureau of Statistics survey on how Australians use their time found that on average:

  • Women spend 172 minutes a day on domestic responsibilities, compared to 97 minutes by men
  • Mothers spend roughly double the hours on daily child care responsibilities than fathers
  • Women spend 24 minutes a day on voluntary or care work compared to 15 minutes by men
  • Women aged 25-34 spend over 97 hours per week in the family home with family members who are not their partner, compared to 57 hours spent by men.
  • Women spend less time on recreation and leisure activities than men, with men spending four and a half hours a day compared with just under four hours spent by women.

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