[Japanese] [Tanaka S.]

A Cross-National Comparison of the Gender Gap in Time Use

reanalysing data from Japan and six Western societies

TANAKA Sigeto (tsigeto(AT)nik.sal.tohoku.ac.jp)

Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University. Nenpou Ningen Kagaku (Annals of Human Sciences). Vol. 22: pp. 17-31. ISSN 0286-5149.

[Body of the paper (Japanese PDF; 258KB )]

Key Words: time budget, sexual division of labor, gender equality, comparative welfare state regime, maximum asymmetry


A secondary analysis of comparable time-use data (arranged by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute; the survey dates vary from 1985 to 1990) from Japan, Canada, US, UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Finland, is conducted by means of a new mathematical procedure to decompose time-use-by-sex arrays distinguishing between effects of marginal distribution and of equalization in lifestyle.

Let a and y denote unpaid housework time by women and by men respectively; x and b denote paid work time by women and by men. Let the marginals be denoted as follows: F=a+x ; M=b+y ; T=F+M ; U=a+y. The index of sex difference in time-use, which is a variant of Yano Masakazu's hubyoudou sisuu [index of inequality], is defined as d=T-2(x+y). Because of the empirical constraint that women's and men's work time (F and M) should balance with each other, d cannot exceed the ceiling of asymmetry C=T-2|F-U|; this C depends on the marginals and presents the structural limit of individuals' option. The appropriate estimator of the prevalence of the gender-equal lifestyle is E=(C-d)/C, a coefficient standardized to be margin-free.

Finally a two-dimensional (E x C) scatterplot of the seven societies is interpreted with the aid of a welfare regime typology by Alan Siaroff (1994):

  1. the gender equality in time-use (E) corresponds to the gender equality in the paid labor market;
  2. in the Netherlands and in Japan the ceiling of asymmetry (C) depends on the length of the standard paid working time, whereas among the other five societies, to which Siaroff referred as Protestant welfare states, C diverges according to the family welfare orientation.

Copyright (c) 2000 Tanaka Sigeto

Duplication in any form without the author's permission is forbidden.

TANAKA Sigeto (tsigeto(AT)nik.sal.tohoku.ac.jp)
Created at 2000-11-10. Last updated at 2001-08-24.