A Multicountry Perspective on Gender Differences in Time Use During COVID-19 | PNAS


We find pervasive gender differences in time use during COVID-19. Surveys of diverse samples with over 30,000 respondents reveal that women—especially mothers—spent more time on necessities such as childcare and chores. In turn, time spent completing household chores was linked to lower well-being. This research reveals persistent time-use differences between women and men in household responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered how people spend time, with possible consequences for subjective well-being. Using diverse samples from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Brazil, and Spain (n = 31,141), following a preregistered analytic plan, and employing both mega- and meta-analyses, we find consistent gender differences in time spent on necessities. During the pandemic, women—especially mothers—spent more time on tasks such as childcare and household chores. To the extent that women spent more time on chores than men, they reported lower happiness. These data represent one of the most rigorous investigations of gender differences in time use during the forced lockdowns created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and point toward individual differences that should be considered when designing policies now and post–COVID-19.

Full article is available on PNAS.