This paper explores associations between social and policy context and how parents of young children allocate time to work and family, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Time Use Survey (TUS) 1997 and 2006. Over the period, Australia's economy was growing and unemployment was low. Political rhetoric supported 'traditional' family values, family tax policy favoured single income or 'modified male-breadwinner' households, and part time work was the most common 'familyfriendly' workplace measure. Against this background, we investigate the market labour supply and intra-household time use of mothers and fathers in couple-headed households with at least one child aged 0 - 4 years (N=747 in 1997 and 626 in 2006). We identify associations between household labour supply and total (paid and unpaid) work, the way paid work, domestic labour and childcare is divided between mothers and fathers, and their subjective feelings of time pressure, at each time point. We find that by 2006, there was lower average maternal market work and a higher proportion of families with young children conformed to the one-and-a-half earner family form than in 1997. In the main there was increased total household work, increased gender specialisation in paid work and caring labour, and much higher subjective time pressure, especially for fathers and the relatively few mothers who were employed full time.
|Journal||Journal of Comparative Family Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|