sheMD Journal Club

Time Spent on Professional Activities and Unwaged Domestic Work 

Is it different for male and female primary care physicians who have children at home?

The authors of this study look at the time spent on work and domestic duties for male and female primary care physicians with children at home to see if there were differences.  It is important to note that this study was performed in Canada, not in the USA.  However domestic duties would be unlikely to differ greatly between the USA and Canada, so this can likely be applied to our population as well.  

 

Physicians were asked to estimate the average number of hours spent weekly on professional activities, on domestic tasks, and on childcare.  

 

 They found that women with children spent significantly more time performing childcare duties each week. Female physicians with children spent approximately 39.7 hours per week on childcare, while male physicians with children spent approximately 11.4 hours per week on childcare.

 

On household duties, women (with or without children) averaged 10.9 hours per week vs men (with or without children) who averaged 7.6 hours, however this difference was not statistically significant.  

 

 When they totaled  professional hours, domestic duties and childcare, women performed 90.5 hours per week total hours  vs men at 68.8 hours per week, which was a statistically significant difference. They found that male physicians were 4 times more likely to have a spouse that was unemployed or had part-time employment (only 30% had full-time working spouses), whereas female physicians were much more likely to have a spouse that was employed full-time (85.3%). 

 

One important thing to note from this study is that women with children did work less professionally than men with children, while the children were under 6 years old, or not yet in school.  In women with children over 6 years of age, there was no significant difference in professional activity between women and men.  In physicians with children under 6 years of age, female physicians worked on average 35.1 hours per week vs 49.6 hours per week by the male physicians.