Irish women among the hardest working in Europe

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Irish women caught between jobs and housework

A new study has revealed that Irish women spend more time doing housework and caring for children than women in most other European countries.

The study was conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ahead of International Women’s Day and includes results from 26 European countries.

Irish women caught between jobs and housework

Irish women spend nearly five hours per day on chores and other unpaid activities. It means they spend less time on ‘personal care’ activities, such as eating, sleeping and using medical services, than women from 77% of the countries surveyed.


Irish women spend twice as much time doing housework as Irish men. Irish men work an average of just under six hours per day while Irish women do over three hours paid work per day on average.

The study also found that Irish women had 51 fewer minutes of leisure time than Irish men. It is evidence that while more women in Ireland have joined the workforce they are still expected to do the majority of household chores.
Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, said: “When there isn’t an even distribution of work between women and men, it really affects women in all aspects of society.”

The report highlights the generation shift that has taken place in Ireland over the last 50 years. Up until the 1970s, most Irish women would stay at home and attend to housework and child-rearing. Very few had jobs as well.
That changed dramatically in the 1980s when women sought to supplement the family income by taking a job while still trying to fulfil their traditional roles as housewives and mothers.

This recent study shows that many women are feeling the strain of trying manage both roles.