The gender no-pay gap: Women in Spain do twice as much unpaid work as men

New study shows females spend 26.5 hours on non-remunerated jobs while males only do 14 hours

Women in Spain do double the amount of household work as men.
Women in Spain do double the amount of household work as men.Getty

Women in Spain spend almost double the amount of time on unpaid work as men. According to a new study from the country’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), women dedicate 26.5 hours a week to non-remunerated tasks, compared to just 14 hours for men. This time is spent on activities such as caring for children or family members, household chores, courses or work at non-profit organizations, says the report. Regardless of whether a couple has children or whether both are working, women still spend twice as much time as men on this type of unpaid work. The only situation in which men spend a similar amount of time (11 hours, compared to a woman’s 13.3 hours) is when they do not have a partner.

A man only spends six hours a week on unpaid work if his partner is unemployed

The inequality between men and women in the labor market can be measured in various forms. One is the pay gap, which means women on average earn 23% less than men. Second is the amount of time dedicated to non-remunerated work, such as caring for children or family dependents, cooking, cleaning, and attending training courses. In this too, women are worse off than men. The aggregated result from the INE report Survey on Life Conditions found that women spend 26.5 hours a week in 2015 on unpaid work, almost double the amount for men.

The data, however, does not show a relationship between this situation and women’s position in the workforce, nor even with the fact that there are more women employed part time than men. Women still spend double the time on non-remunerated work as men whether they have a casual job (29.6 hours compared to 13.9) or work full time (25.2 hours compared to 13.9).

The report shows that women work more unpaid hours in all personal, family and work situations. The division only becomes more equal when men and women don’t have children (11 hours versus 13). From here, the gap widens. For instance, the amount of time a man dedicates to unpaid tasks drops to six hours if his partner is unemployed. A woman in the same position in contrast spends 17.2 hours – 186.7% more.

Women on average earn 23% less than men

This difference becomes even more exaggerated when a couple has children. And especially when a man or a woman does not have a partner. But the gap does fall between divorced couples or if a person is the head of a single-parent family. In this case, women spend 31.9 hours on non-remunerated work and men 13.5 hours – 18.4 hours more than men. The gap closes when both have a child, a job and children. In this case, men work 20.8 hours and women 37.5 hours.

The situation is inverted – although the divide in hours is much less – when it comes to paid work. Men work more hours both in full-time jobs (42.4 hours a week compared to 39.3) and in part-time jobs (22.7 hours compared to 21.6). These numbers and the over-representation of women in casual positions (74% of 2.8 million jobs) are an important part of explaining the gender pay gap in Spain.

Equality comes with grandkids

According to the INE survey on life conditions, women on average dedicate more time than men to unpaid work, regardless if they have a partner, children, a job or not. This situation only evens out when there are grandchildren. In this case, grandmothers and grandfathers spend the same amount of time as their grandkids: 16 hours a week.

English version by Melissa Kitson.


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