Balancing paid work, unpaid work and leisure


05/03/2018 - The time spent on unpaid work such as household chores or shopping exposes huge gender gaps. Mexican women spend the most time on these tasks at 6 hours and 23 minutes a day while Mexican men spend an average of 2 hours and 17 minutes on unpaid work. Next are Portuguese women who spend 5 hours and 28 minutes a day on unpaid work while their menfolk spend only 1 hour and 36 minutes, the lowest in Europe after Turkey. In Europe, the most helpful men are the Danes who spend 3 hours and 6 minutes a day helping out at home. 

Unpaid Work, Source: OECD (2017) Time Use (database)

When it comes to time spent on personal care, including eating and sleeping, the gap between the sexes is much smaller. Time spent on how you look and how you look after yourself appears to be most important in France and Italy. French women spend the most, at 12 hours and 41 minutes a day, well ahead of Italian women who are second at 11 hours and 45 minutes. Their men spend almost as much time – with French males ahead at 12 hours and 23 minutes compared with 11 hours and 50 minutes for the Italians. French men and women spend over two hours a day (2 hours and 13 minutes) eating and drinking, double the time spent by Americans (1 hour and 2 minutes), the quickest eaters and drinkers in the OECD. 

Eating and drinking, Source: OECD (2017) Time use (database)

Women in Norway spend more time relaxing in front of the TV or entertaining friends than anyone else (6 hours and 6 minutes a day), followed by Belgium (5 hours and 46 minutes). In every country, men have more leisure time each day while women spend more time doing unpaid housework. 


Access data

The data is taken from national time-use surveys, based on nationally representative samples of between 4,000 and 20,000 people. The dataset is available at or you can download the excel file here.


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