4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, August 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/08/2016   
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The Work and Family Balance section contains the following sub-topics:
  • Time use (engagement in paid and unpaid work, caring for children)
  • Providing care (to a person with disability, to someone last week)
  • Time Stress and Work and Family Balance (whether rushed or pressed for time, whether feels responsibilities are in balance)
  • Volunteering (by labour force status, age and activity)

Detailed data for these sub-topics is available from the Downloads tab, above (see Table 4).


    In 2014, 29% of men and 33% of women reported engaging in voluntary work for an organisation or group in the last 12 months, a decline from 34% and 38% respectively in 2010 (see Figure 1 below, and Table 4.8 via the Downloads tab for more detail).

Graph Image for Figure 1 - Volunteering rate by sex, 2006, 2010 and 2014 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Males and females who volunteered as a proportion of the total population aged 18 years and over for each sex.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS General Social Survey, 2006-2014

    Between 2010 and 2014, the largest decline in volunteering was for women employed part-time (dropping from nearly 50% to 39%), followed by men employed full-time (from 39% to 29%). Over the same period, however, the proportion of unemployed women who did voluntary work increased from 24% to 38%.

    People aged 35-44 years had the highest rate of volunteering of any age group (44% of women and 34% of men). This may be linked in part with parental responsibilities around this life stage.

    Just under a quarter of men (24%) and 28% of women born overseas engaged in volunteering, as did 28% of men and 30% of women with disability (see Table 9.8)

Volunteering activities
    In 2014, men and women were most likely to volunteer their time for fundraising/sales activities (13% and 18% respectively). Women were likely to be involved in preparing/serving food (14% compared with 10% of men), while men were engaged in coaching/refereeing/judging activities (10% compared with 6% of women), and repairing/maintenance/gardening activities (10% and 5% respectively). See Table 4.8 for more detail.

Time Use

Paid and unpaid work, childcare
    In 2006, the time spent on paid and unpaid work by people aged 15 years and over averaged 7 hours and 25 minutes per day for men and 7 hours and 34 minutes per day for women. This included employment related activities, formal volunteer work and unpaid work in the home (domestic, child care and purchasing activities to support the worker's household, and caring for others outside the home (informal volunteer work)).

    On average, men spent nearly twice as long as women on employment related activities, while women spent nearly twice as long as men on primary activities associated with unpaid work. Women were also likely to spend more time on domestic activities (2 hours 52 minutes per day compared with 1 hour and 37 minutes per day for men) and childcare (59 and 22 minutes respectively per day). See Tables 4.1 and 4.2 for more detail.
    Men and women born in Australia spent more time per day caring for children than those born overseas (see Table 9.2)

Providing care

Primary care of a person with disability
    In 2012, 5.8% of women and 2.6% of men provided primary care to a person with disability. Persons with disability themselves were more likely than those without to provide this care (9.3% and 5.8% respectively compared with 4.9% of women and 1.8% of men with no disability). See Figure 2 below, and Tables 4.3 and Table 4.3 Exp via the Downloads tab for more detail.

Graph Image for Figure 2 - Providing care to a person with disability, by disability status and sex, 2009 to 2012 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons 15 and over, living in households. Includes people living in private and non-private dwellings, but excludes those living in cared accommodation.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2009 and 2012

Caring for someone in the last week
    In 2007, just under 40% of employed men and 43% of employed women had provided care for someone in the week before they were surveyed, with 8% of these men and 10% of these women taking time off work to do so. Three quarters of employed women who cared for someone in the past week were caring for their own children (76%), with 9% caring for grandchildren. These proportions were 86% for women and 4% for men (see Table 4.4).

Time Stress and Work and Family Balance

Whether felt rushed or pressed for time
    In 2007, 35% of Australian men and 42% of Australian women felt they were always or often rushed or pressed for time. This was higher for those who provided care, rising to 46% of men and 55% of women. The main reasons women gave for feeling rushed or pressed for time were trying to balance work and family responsibilities (31%) and having too much to do/too many demands placed upon them (19%). For men, the main reasons were trying to balance work and family responsibilities (27%) and pressure of work/study (26%). See Table 4.6 for more detail.

Whether feels responsibilities are in balance
    Around three in five Australians in 2007 felt their work and family responsibilities were always or often in balance, although 16% of men and 15% of women felt they were rarely or never in balance (see Table 4.7).