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Time for the family

Since 1961 the amount of time parents spend looking after children has doubled. Contrary to expectation, says Jonathan Gershuny, full time working mothers spend more time on childcare in 1995 than non-employed mothers did in 1961

By Jonathan Gershuny   January 1997

We keep records of the grand, if distant, facts of social and economic life: we have data on job creation, levels of production, income differences, changing infrastructure and so on. But what do we know of our daily lives at home? What is most familiar to us goes largely undocumented; it is as a result hidden from future historians.

When Joanne Vanek argued in a famous article in Scientific American in the mid-1970s that the amount of housework done by women had remained constant throughout the period of the maximum advance of labour-saving domestic technology, there was little evidence either…

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