Phooey! Women don’t work harder than men

by BETTINA ARNDT – WOMEN work harder than men. That was the sexist headline for an article earlier this year on The Conversation

Hardly unusual, given that the overburdened woman is a favoured theme with our media intent on singing women’s praises and denigrating men at every conceivable opportunity. 

Totally omitted from all media coverage is the fact that the amount of extra work done by men is huge – men work 46 per cent more paid hours than women.

But this anthropological study takes the cake. It involved two female anthropologists who gave Fitbits activity trackers to Tibetan farmers, to measure the steps taken by men and women in their working day.

They found Tibetan women walked on average just over 12,000 steps a day, while men walked just over 9000 steps.


“Women work much harder than men,” proclaimed the elated anthropologists, claiming that this “sheds light on the gender division of work across many different kinds of society”.

That makes the ludicrous assumption that the number of steps matters more than other metrics for measuring work, such as effort in physical lifting, danger in jobs like the village blacksmith, let alone the value of the job, the skills required and the income generated.

More grist to the mill celebrating women and putting down men.

The overworked women theme gets a run every time the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes data on how Australians use their time, which inevitably prompts media articles complaining about how little men do around the home.

The latest ABS press release was balanced: “Females do more unpaid work, males do more paid work”.

Yet naturally, this still resulted in a flurry of news reports highlighting women’s burden and not even mentioning the male contribution.

Totally omitted from all media coverage was the fact that the amount of extra work done by men is huge – men work 46 per cent more paid hours than women.

To really understand this issue, it helps to look at overall contributions to the household, including childcare, domestic activities, as well as time for education and employment-related activities.

This gives a measure of how busy men and women are, excluding personal activities like recreation, shopping, personal care, social interaction etc.

Looking at the data this way, we find that all the previous surveys showed men were busier contributing to their households than women.

But last year, the results were from a survey that was taken during COVID lockdowns when there wasn’t so much paid work going on, and this showed women as fractionally busier, namely 15 minutes per day

But here’s the truth about how men pulled their weight during COVID for their families and the response they should have received if we had a fair media.

  • Fathers work 70 per cent more hours than partnered males without children – an average of 5.33 hours per day versus 3.16. (Thanks dads for working so hard to provide for your families.)
  • Partnered women without kids work 27 per cent less time than unpartnered women – 2.34 hours versus 3.32. (That’s so generous of you to support them, guys.)
  • Male sole parents spend 170 per cent more time educating themselves than females. (What a great example for your kids.)
  • Male sole parents also cope much better than females – being much less likely to feel rushed or pressed for time. (Good job, dads.)
  • Men spend 38 per cent more time helping out friends and neighbours. (Your community appreciates that support.)
  • Men also increased the amount of time spent on domestic activities by 34 per cent while women’s time didn’t change. (You showed them that given a chance, men do their bit.)
  • When child-care facilities closed down during COVID, it was mainly fathers who stepped up – increasing child-care time by 67 per cent compared to previous surveys. The female increase was 10 per cent. (Thanks, dads. We know many of you loved that extra time with your kids.)

All this talk about unpaid work provides a convenient smokescreen diverting attention from the central fact that men’s hugely greater paid working hours make male earnings absolutely critical to the family enterprise.


It may be very unfashionable to talk about men as breadwinners, but that’s still the yoke that most partnered men bear.

Many years ago, I wrote an article about who gets the better deal in marriage, which included a story about a Victorian teacher, Mary, who had been planning to retire early from her job. But then her surveyor husband, John, accepted his company’s early retirement package and pursued his life-long dream to work as an artist.

When I interviewed Mary, her husband was painting three days a week and spending the rest of his time on community work. He was as happy as Larry.

Mary loved her job but wasn’t keen on spending ten more years in a very demanding, stressful position. “I’d prefer to be part-time, but then I think, ‘No, I can’t. I have no choice’.”

She envied John’s freedom. “Who did you have lunch with today?” she’d ask him through gritted teeth. “I ask about his day and feel like stabbing him to death!” she said with a good-natured chuckle.

She admitted she couldn’t understand why men aren’t complaining more about their side of the deal. “I don’t understand why it doesn’t build up more resentment.”


We live in a society that is so busy highlighting women’s drudgery that men simply aren’t allowed to complain about being forced to work full-time all their lives to pay the mortgage, often in jobs they hate, whilst many women still have choices.

They often have the choice to drop out of the workforce to care for young children and then, return to shorter working hours, if at all, and retire far earlier.

The result, of course, is far less superannuation.

Despite the public narrative about older impoverished women and privileged men, the fact is that women’s lower super is in a large part due to a lifetime spent working less than men.

Women get to spend their partners’ higher earnings – women control the purse strings in most relationships – and they are usually beneficiaries of their partners’ retirement benefits.

Naturally, in a civilised world, there wouldn’t be a competition about who works harder. Sensible folk realise men and women must work as a team to share the burdens and rewards of family life.

But that reality doesn’t suit the feminist narrative promoting winners and losers in their endless gender war.PC

Bettina Arndt

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Courtesy Sherbornes Solicitors
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on April 6, 2023. Re-used with the author’s permission.

2 thoughts on “Phooey! Women don’t work harder than men

  1. When you do the Lions share you get the Lions share . I worked in hospitality and I did the heavy lifting cleaning and removal of patrons and the girls did bugger all ( still do today ) and got the same $$$ and treated like Angels . IT still goes in in many work places today . Look at the sport they are copying a male invented sport but want all the $$$$ that we worked hard to get and call it equality ???? There are many women who have worked very little time in the workforce and then never again and others who never have as they have married a rich dick . Imagine a man marrying a rich woman and being a kept man ???


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