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Even at leisure women feel more rushed than men

While more free time sounds like a good thing for everyone, it is a better deal for men than it is for women, says a research.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 11:55 IST

While more free time sounds like a good thing for everyone, a new research suggests that it is a better deal for men than it is for women.

A study found that men who have more free time feel less rushed than men with less leisure time. But even when women have more time free from paid work and household tasks, they don't feel less rushed.

The results suggest that women - particularly mothers - may feel the pressures of childcare and housework even when they have time for relaxation, said Liana Sayer, co-author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

"Its not that women don't enjoy spending free time with their children, but it is a different experience than spending time with friends. To ease time pressure, women need more free time that is not combined with other activities or responsibilities."

"The meaning of free time for men's and women's lives are quite different," Sayer said. "Especially for wives and mothers, it appears free time is still combined with other activities or responsibilities."

Women, in effect, pay a "family penalty," she said.

For example, the study found that men who were married and had children didn't feel more rushed in their daily lives than single, childless men.

But the odds of feeling sometimes or always rushed were 2.2 times higher for married women with children than it was for single, childless women.

Sayer conducted the study with Marybeth Mattingly of the University of Maryland . Their results appear in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

While this study didn't delve into the reasons why women feel more rushed, Sayer said other research suggests women still feel more responsible for taking care of children and housework, even if men are pitching in more than they once did.

This means that the quality of free time may not be the same for women as it is for men.

"Among mothers, free time may be too entangled with caregiving to be the 'pause that refreshes,'" Sayer said.

For example, even during their free time, women may still be more responsible than men for meeting the needs of their children.

"Its not that women don't enjoy spending free time with their children, but it is a different experience than spending time with friends," she said. "To ease time pressure, women need more free time that is not combined with other activities or responsibilities."