Women spend double the time than men on unpaid labours

Women spend double the time than men on unpaid household chores: Govt study

Representative image. Credit: iStock

A woman in India spent an average over seven hours in a day cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and looking after children and adults without being paid a single penny last year while a man gave just over three hours of his time for the same.

At the same time, the first-ever 'Time Use Survey in India 2019' by the National Statistical Office (NSO) says, men spent more time at work compared to women, a statistics that unravel the skewed numbers of women in the workplace.

Altogether, both men and women in both urban and rural areas spent an average 248 minutes for unpaid domestic services -- cooking, cleaning, pet care, washing clothes among others -- while another 114 minutes are spent on unpaid caregiving services, which includes child care, helping dependent adults and travelling with them among others.

Of the 248 minutes or 4:08 hours spent on domestic chores, a woman gives three times the time -- 299 minutes or nearly three hours -- while a man gives only 97 minutes of his day.

The women in urban space spent 293 minutes for domestic work while rural women gave 301 minutes for running the house-hold. In rural areas, men spent 98 minutes on average on domestic services while in cities, it was 94 minutes.

On unpaid care-giving services for household members, 114 minutes are spent on a day. Of this, a woman spent 134 minutes while a man spent 76 minutes.

The survey covered 4.47 lakh people in 1.38 lakh households and information of time use during January-December 2019 was collected from each member of age 6 years and above of the selected households.

Of the 1,440 minutes available in a day, the survey says, the maximum amount of time -- 429 minutes or 7:09 hours -- is spent by both men and women in employment and related activities.

In rural India, a man spent 434 minutes (7:14 hours) on work while it was 317 minutes (5:17 hours) for women. In urban areas, the gap was wider with men spending 514 minutes (8:34 hours) while women spent 375 minutes (6:15 hours).

For "learning", 424 minutes were spent on average by a person in the country a day. The gap between male (426 minutes) and female (423 minutes) was very miniscule both in rural and urban areas.

People in rural areas spent a little more time on self-care and maintenance -- sleeping, eating, personal hygiene and healthcare among others -- compared to urban areas. A rural person spent 731 minutes on this count while it was 715 minutes for one who lives in cities and towns.

Indians spent only 165 minutes a day for cultural and sports activities, reading newspapers and weeklies and watching TV among others. Those in cities spent 16 more minutes in such activities compared to those in rural India -- 176 minutes against 159 minutes. 

Average time spent (in minutes) in a day per activities:

Source: Time Use Survey 2019/National Statistical Office








Employment, related activities459333429

Production of goods for own final use



Unpaid domestic services


Unpaid caregiving services


Unpaid volunteer, trainee and other unpaid work




Socialising and communication, community participation and religious practice


Culture, Leisure, mass media and sports practices


Self-care and maintenance



Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox