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Do Women Have Less Fun Than Men?

A new study shows a leisure-time gender gap that favors men.
 
 
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Men spend an average of 34.7 hours per week on leisurely activities like watching TV, playing games, participating in sports and a series of other recreational enterprises, while women spend only 29 hours on the same activities according to a Pew Research Center analysis of pooled data from the American Time Use Survey of 2003 to 2011. The gender gap in leisure is about five hours per week.

The analysis reveals that while women work 10 paid hours less than men each week, women spend about six hours more than men in household work and about three additional hours in child care, bringing the total work time to 45.6 hours per week for men and 45.2 hours for women.

Among working parents in particular the difference in leisure time is slightly smaller, but working fathers spend three more hours of official relaxation time than working mothers each week—28 and 25 hours, respectively.

As the Pew analysis shows, women are less likely to spend their time between activities on leisure, so the gap among couples with children could be explained by the ways in which parents of each gender spend their free time. According to the analysis, mothers’ free time is often interrupted, which might make it more difficult for them to relax during that time.

The Pew report further notes: “...mothers tend to spend more time than fathers in multitasking; the additional hours spent on multitasking are mainly related to time spent on housework and child care.

April M. Short is an associate editor at AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @AprilMShort.