Female employment grew rapidly in the 1990s, and this has accelerated the demise in the numbers of families headed by a male breadwinner. In 2002, three-quarters of married or cohabiting couples, and 56 per cent of those with children under school age, were supported by two-earners. Women in couples where both partners work full-time have always worked long hours, an average 40-hour week in 2002. What has changed over the decade is that there are significantly more of these families. The problem of long family hours of work is most predominant among the highly educated. In 2002 couples where women had some higher education supplied an average of 73 labour market hours a week. In contrast, those with 0-levels or less supplied just 60 labour market hours. This difference is even starker among those with pre-school children. In one-half of families with children at least one parent usually works during the evening, while in one in ten families with pre-school children parents work shifts, with men working during the day and women during the evening or night. In spite of women’s increasing labour market attachment, women still take responsibility for the vast majority of household chores even when they work full-time. The burden of housework is more evenly split where women earn an amount equal to or greater than their partners. These families are also particularly likely to ‘buy back’ time through the purchase of hired help, such as cleaners, and labour saving devices, such as dishwashers.
|Title of host publication||The Labour Market Under New Labour|
|Subtitle of host publication||The State of Working Britain 2003|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2003|