The division of household labour has changed markedly over the past 30 years and while Canadian fathers are doing more, mothers still contribute the most time to unpaid housework and child care.
These are the initial findings from the 2015 version of the Time Use Survey, which has been conducted six times since 1986.
Fathers spending more time preparing meals
Not only are more Canadian fathers doing household chores than was the case in 1986, but the amount of time they spend per day doing them has also increased. The proportion of fathers participating in household work rose from 51% in 1986 to 76% in 2015. One of the key factors in the rise is the fact that 59% of fathers reported participating in preparing meals in 2015, compared with 29% in 1986.
What’s more, fathers who performed household work spent more time on it in 2015 than before. Fathers spent an average of 2.4 hours per day performing household work in 2015, on days when they did such work, compared with an average of 2.0 hours per day in 1986.
Despite these gains, mothers continued to do the most household work. In 2015, 93% of mothers reported participating in different types of household work, similar to the proportion recorded in 1986. Among mothers who did household work, the average length of time was 3.0 hours per day in 2015, compared with an average of 3.4 hours per day in 1986.
In 2015, mothers accounted for 61% of the total number of hours of household work performed by Canadian parents, compared with 75% in 1986.
Despite increased participation from fathers, mothers provide nearly two-thirds of the total hours spent helping and caring for children
Fathers were also increasingly involved in helping and caring for their children. Nearly 49% of fathers provided help and care to their children in 2015, up from 33% in 1986. By comparison, 66% of mothers did so in 2015, the same proportion as in 1986.
Mothers spent more time than fathers on parental responsibilities for children age 17 and under. Overall, mothers in Canada provided nearly two-thirds (65%) of the total hours spent helping and caring for children in 2015.
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