Cooking, caring and volunteering: unpaid work around the world


A new OECD working paper, entitled “Cooking, caring and volunteering: unpaid work around the world”, reveals marked differences between the time men and women spend looking after their children. Mothers spend more than twice as much time on childcare than men: 1 hour 40 minutes on average compared to 42 minutes.


This new analysis includes the differences in time spent whether parents are working or not. In Nordic countries, men spend roughly the same time looking after children whether they are working or not (around 40 minutes). Australian men spend the most time, whether working or not (69 and 105 minutes respectively). The least time spent by working fathers is in South Africa (8 minutes) and Korea (12 minutes). On average, working dads spend 40 minutes on childcare, and only 10 minutes more when not working, whereas working mothers spend 74 minutes and nearly double (144 minutes) when not working.
This working paper also includes new data and analysis on the time men and women spend doing unpaid work, from cleaning and cooking to voluntary work and looking after elderly relatives.



This will form part of the “Society at a Glance 2011” report, to be released in April 2011. It feeds into a series of reports looking at family policies, rising income inequality and intergenerational solidarity, to be discussed at the 2011 OECD Social Policy Ministerial meeting in Paris on 2 and 3 May. More information at


A new comparison of maternity leave rights in OECD countries also shows the dramatic differences in women’s rights to paid and unpaid leave. This is taken from a new OECD report “Doing Better for Families”, to be released in April 2011. Women in the UK can take a year off work, of which around 40 weeks are paid, with the total amounting to around 12 weeks of average earnings. In Austria, France and the Netherlands, women are entitled to 16 weeks, most at full pay. The US is the only country where women are not entitled to paid maternity leave – do note that this chart reflects the situation as in 2008 and does not include the Australian reform that introduced paid parental leave on 1 January 2011, or paid parental leave payments in other OECD countries. For more detail on maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements, see


More data and analysis on gender issues is available at as well as at the OECD Family Database (

 Vollständige Studie (pdf, 1,3MB, engl.)

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