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Donated time, a tool for analyzing housework and care
Date:3/7/2013

This release is available in Spanish.

Matxalen Legarreta, a UPV/EHU sociologist, has studied the distinction existing in terms of gender in time distribution. Taking the view that the tools used so far provide a fuzzy perspective, she is proposing that donated time be used to study housework and care, because it links together a quantitative and qualitative methodology and therefore offers the chance to come up with a more complete perspective.

For many years, the sociologist Matxalen Legarreta has been studying matters relating to housework and care. What strikes her as worrying is that time budget surveys still show such a difference in the time distribution of market work, and of housework and care, in particular, depending on whether it involves a man or a woman. "In fact, when both are taken into consideration, women do one hour more work than men and have one hour less for leisure and social life," explains Legarreta.

She has geared her research and PhD thesis towards examining the factors and reasons behind that time distribution, and she is in no doubt that housework and care display special characteristics. "They are done above all by women, they have poor social and academic recognition, they are based on relationships, they have an affective, moral tinge (sacrifice, guilt, obligation, love, etc.), they are based on the principle of reciprocity, they are distributed according to specific gender studies and they are transversalized by asymmetrical power relationships," she explained.

However, all these qualitative aspects become excluded if time is measured only in hours and minutes, which is what time budget surveys do. That is why Legarreta believes that a critical interpretation needs to be made. "Even though time budget surveys are useful for revealing certain aspects, they are very limited. For example, in the s
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Contact: Aitziber Lasa
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Elhuyar Fundazioa
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