His marriage and her marriage: gender differences in time use in China

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Virginia Tech


The purposes of this study were to describe patterns of time use and to identify some of the sources of the gender gap in time expenditures in both urban and rural China. Based on previous theoretical perspectives, a number of individual and family structure characteristics were proposed to form a parsimonious and distinct model. Bivariate analysis, ANOVA, and multiple regression with interaction terms were used to test hypotheses that linked predictive variables with the dependent variables of the inquiry. Empirical work of the study was based on the 1990 survey data from a representative sample of adult Chinese persons living in Hubei Province, People's Republic of China. The descriptive results provided abundant information about gender differences in paid work, housework and leisure activities. On the whole, urban women had an equal amount of paid work as men had, their unpaid housework hours doubled or tripled their men's, and their leisure time was one hour less than men's. The gender gap in time use was larger in rural areas than in urban ones. The ANOVA results confirmed the majority of the aforementioned findings as significant. The multiple regression results identified the determinants of time use as follows: Once the other variables were held constant, (1) age, education, and income were predictive of paid work time; (2) sex, paid work time, education, and marital status had a significant impact on housework time; and (3) sex, time spent on paid work and housework, age, education, and income affected leisure time. The three models were found to be more applicable to the rural setting than to the urban one. The conclusions raised questions requiring policy development in China, and theoretical improvement and future research in both China and America.