Gendering the Pandemic: Women’s and Men’s Time Use during COVID-19

The COVID-19 social distancing requirements, school and child care closures, workplaces shifting to remote work, and unprecedented job loss has changed the rhythm of daily life but in unequal ways for women and men. The emerging literature on gendered impacts of COVID-19 indicates widening gaps in married parents’ housework and child care time (Carlson, Petts, & Pepin, 2020; Dunatchik, Gerson, Glass, Jacobs, & Stritzel, 2020; Lyttleton, Zang, & Musick, 2020). Knowledge about COVID-19 impacts on gendered time use is limited because of the focus on partnered parents’ paid work, housework, and care work. The pandemic has altered daily life for all women and men and studying all groups and all daily activities is necessary to understand if and how the pandemic might affect long-term changes in time use, social interaction, and well-being. Using data from the Assessing the Social Consequences of COVID-19 (ASCC) study, we find specialization in the division of labor is greatest among partnered women and men without children, not partnered parents. We also find that although all women report more housework and care work than men, the gap is only 7m comparing employed married parents. Employed married mothers have less leisure than other groups, with child care and self care accounting for the difference. Last, our results suggest the need to examine intersecting patterns of time inequality by gender, social class, and education.

Co-authors: Xu Yan (University of Maryland College Park), Long Doan (University of Maryland College Park), R. Gordon Rinderknecht (Max Plank Institute for Demographic Reseach)