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Juggling work and family

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The Hon Wendy Fatin MP Minister for Local Government

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women

6 May 1991


Seventy per cent of household chores are done by women, said the Hon Wendy Fatin, Federal Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women in Sydney today.

The Minister launched Australia's most comprehensive research study into the distribution of unpaid work.

The study, Juggling Time: How Australian Families Use Time, looks at the relationship between women's paid employment and their unpaid work in the home; how marriage, children and retirement affect the distribution of household chores; and the effect of domestic technology and leisure activities on men and women. The research was done by Michael Bittman from

the University of New South Wales.

"Mr Bittman's research offers statistical backup for the double load of work and family responsibilities that many women have been feeling for some time, but for which they have been given little recognition," Ms Fatin said.

The findings indicate that women do the vast majority of unpaid work, regardless of whether they have paid jobs, and that marriage and children increase the double load


"The difficulties of combining work and family

responsibilities is affecting family life," Ms Fatin said. "Assessing the distribution of unpaid work within families is an important step in recognising the pressures women face in trying to successfully combine these two spheres of their


"Up until now, the lack of reliable data has made this

assessment difficult."

The publication of the Bittman research is part of a community education program associated with the ratification of the International Labor Convention 156 "Workers with Family

Responsibilities". The Convention aims to enable workers with family responsibilities who are employed or who wish to be employed, to do so without discrimination and as far as possible, without conflict between their employment and family responsibilities.

Contact: Ms Ruth Dewsbury (06) 277 7240