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Women work harder than men - phooey!
How statistics measuring men and women's contribution to the household are used to fuel the feminist gender war.
“Women work harder than men.” So read the sexist headline for an article earlier this year on The Conversation. Hardly unusual, given that the overburdened woman is a favoured theme with a media intent on singing women’s praises and denigrating men at every conceivable opportunity.
But this anthropological study takes the cake. It involved two female anthropologists who, believe it or not, gave Fitbits to farming and herding groups in the Tibetan borderlands. Fitbits are activity trackers which were used to measure the steps taken by men and women in their working day. The anthropologists found that these Tibetan women walked on average just over 12,000 steps per day, while men walked just over 9,000 steps.
“Women work much harder than men,” proclaimed the elated anthropologists, claiming that this “sheds light on the gender division of work across many different kinds of society.” That makes the ludicrous assumption that the number of steps matters more than other metrics for measuring work, such as effort in physical lifting, danger in jobs like the village blacksmith, let alone the value of the job, the skills required, the income generated.
No matter. More grist to the mill celebrating women and putting down men.
Meanwhile in Australia
The overworked women theme gets a run every time The Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes data on how Australians use their time. In the past whenever this data set was released, the Bureau pandered to the feminist narrative with press releases highlighting men’s failure to do as much housework and childcare as women, rarely even mentioning the hugely disproportional amount of paid work done by men.
There’s been complaints to the Bureau about this and finally the organisation responded with a more balanced headline last year when the latest results were published. “Females do more unpaid work, males do more paid work,” said the ABS media release but naturally this resulted in flurry of news reports highlighting women’s burden and not even mentioning the male contribution. Totally omitted from all media coverage was the fact that the amount of extra work done by men is huge – men work 46% more paid hours than women.
The ABS does not make it easy to figure out who really works harder overall. We decided to take a look at total contributions to the household, including childcare, domestic activities, as well as time for education and employment-related activities. That gives a measure of how busy men and women are, but excluding personal activities like recreation, shopping, personal care, social interaction etc.
Looking at the data this way, we find all the previous surveys showed men were busier contributing to their households than women. But last year the results were from a survey that was taken during Covid lockdowns when there wasn’t so much paid work going on, and this showed women as fractionally busier, namely 15 minutes per day.
But here's the truth about how men pulled their weight during Covid for their families and the response they should have received if we had a fairer media.
Fathers worked 70% more hours than partnered males without children – an average of 5:33 per day vs 3:16. Thanks Dads for working so hard to provide for your families.
Partnered women without kids worked 27% less time than unpartnered women - 2:34 vs 3:32. That’s so generous of you to support them, guys.
Male sole parents spent 170% more time educating themselves than females. What a great example for your kids.
Male sole parents also coped much better than females - being much less likely to feel rushed or pressed for time. Good job, Dads.
Men spent 38% more time helping out friends and neighbours. Your community appreciates that support.
Men also increased the amount of time spent on domestic activities by 34% (women’s time didn’t change). You showed them that given a chance, men do their bit.
When child-care facilities closed down during Covid, it was mainly fathers who stepped up – increasing child-care time by 67% compared to previous surveys (female increase was 10%). Thanks, Dads. We know many of you loved that extra time with your kids.
Work more, earn more
All this talk about unpaid work provides a convenient smokescreen diverting attention from the central fact that men’s hugely greater paid working hours make male earnings absolutely critical to the family enterprise. It may be very unfashionable to talk about men as breadwinners but that’s still the yoke that most partnered men bear.
Many years ago, I wrote an article for the Fairfax newspapers Good Weekend magazine about who gets the better deal in marriage. It was a real struggle getting the article approved by the feminist editor who didn’t approve of my attempts to include the male perspective on the issue.
Like the story I told about a Victorian teacher, Mary, who had been planning to retire early from her job. But then her surveyor husband, John, accepted his company’s early retirement package to pursue his life-long dream to work as an artist. When I interviewed Mary, her husband was painting three days a week and spending the rest of his time on community work. He was as happy as Larry.
Mary loved her job but wasn’t keen on spending ten more years in a very demanding, stressful position. “I’d prefer to be part-time but then I think, `No, I can’t. I have no choice.’”
She envied John’s freedom. “Who did you have lunch with today?” she’d ask him through gritted teeth. “I ask about his day and feel like stabbing him to death!” she said with a good-natured chuckle. She admitted she can’t understand why men aren’t complaining more about their side of the deal. “I don’t understand why it doesn’t build up more resentment.”
Well, we live in a society that is so busy highlighting women’s drudgery that men simply aren’t allowed to complain about being forced to work full-time all their lives to pay the mortgage, often in jobs they hate, whilst many women still have choices. They often have the option of dropping out of the workforce to care for young children and then, returning to shorter working hours if at all, and retiring far earlier.
The result, of course, is far less superannuation. I wrote two years ago exposing feminist myths about older impoverished women and privileged men, pointing out that women’s lower super is a direct result of a lifetime spent working less than men. They get to spend their partners’ higher earnings – women control the purse strings in most relationships - and they are usually beneficiaries of their partners’ retirement benefits.
Naturally, in a civilized world, there wouldn’t be a competition about who works harder. Sensible folk realise men and women must work as a team to share the burdens and rewards of family life. But that reality doesn’t suit the feminist narrative promoting winners and losers in their endless gender war.
Finally, two funny little good news items.
The first emerged with the release of another survey from the ABS – this time the Personal Safety Survey, the source of Australia’s best data on domestic violence. The Australian reported the exciting news that despite all the alarmist reporting predicting a second “pandemic” of domestic violence during lockdown, that violence actually fell during that period. This important news was ignored by all other media.
Back in August 2021 I wrote a blog about the feminists’ great covid domestic violence fundraiser which revealed that all the proper evidence at that time was showing no increase in violence. But despite this, the feminist’s lobbying produced an astonishing 150% increase in the domestic violence industry’s annual handout from the Feds –leaping from $100 to $250 million per annum at least until 2022-23.
Surely we can find some parliamentarians to ask questions in Senate Estimates suggesting this money be paid back, now that official proof is in that it was based on a fraud?
Then there was delightful news from ANROWS, one of the key feminist domestic violence propaganda units, showing we may be winning the propaganda war. Their latest four-yearly survey shows almost half of Australians believe women and men equally commit domestic violence, more than 1/3rd believe that women going through custody battles make up or exaggerate claims of domestic violence, while a similar number believed it is common for sexual assault accusations to be used as a way of getting back at men.
The ABC naturally expressed much alarm at this development. But we were rejoicing. The truth is finally winning through. Hallelujah.