Shared Family Leisure and Eating Time in Comparative Perspective

Lyn Craig, University of New South Wales
Killian Mullan, University of New South Wales

Is the time families spend in shared leisure and eating together higher in countries where mothers do more childcare? Using nationally representative Time Use Surveys we compare four countries with different work-family policy settings and attitudes to maternal care: USA, Australia, Denmark, and France. We exploit information on activities, co-presence and location to create harmonised measures of parents’ total time with children, and shared family leisure both in and out of home. In Australia and the USA, which have fewer policies supporting women’s employment and stronger cultural ideals of intensive parenting, mothers spend the most time with children in total. However, the time mothers and children, or both parents and children, spend together in shared leisure is remarkably uniform cross-nationally. Indeed, the most focused joint family leisure time is highest in Denmark and France. This suggests higher average maternal employment does not threaten this important aspect of family life and has implications for Anglo mothers’ leisure and child-free time

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Presented in Session 191: Comparative Perspectives on Gender and Time Use in the Household