The gender stereotypes in time use: persistent and unwavering, so it seems!

Joeri Minnen 14 January 2018

The end of the gender revolution?

The gender revolution appears to be stagnating. That was the conclusion of previous analyses based on Belgian time use data conducted from 1999 and 2005. But with new data from 2013 now available, the question again was: how (un)stable are gender stereotypes in everyday life?

The research was conducted by Theun Pieter van Tienoven, a partner at hbits. He was commissioned to carry out the work by the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men and in conjunction with the Statistics Belgium division of FPS Economy. Data-gathering in this type of survey can also be done with the MOTUS software platform, with analysis by hbits. Hence our considerable interest in the project.

Gender inequality continues to have a strong presence

Very little has changed in the way women and men use their time, which means that gender inequality remains as strong now as it was 15 years ago. Over their whole lifetime, men spend more time in paid work and leisure time, while women spend more time doing domestic duties and bringing up children.

Gender inequality is as strong now as it was 15 years ago.

Having said that, the differences in time spent on work in the home between women and men have become smaller. But that has more to do with the fact that women spend less time on domestic duties. It also fits in with the fact that fathers are setting more time aside for their children. This appears to be more of a general trend, with the same thing applying for mothers.

Two very demanding roles

The survey did not give any direct indications that the (traditional) role of the man as the breadwinner is no longer the case. The result: women who want to do away with the (traditional) role of the woman as a housewife tend to find themselves juggling two very demanding roles. This translates, among other things, into more women taking on part-time work, usually on account of the children. Also, the one area of time use on a day-to-day basis that differs between men and women is the amount of routine, usually invisible, domestic work they do.

No wonder, then, that women feel time pressures to a greater extent than men, while women who work part-time feel under more time pressure than women who work full-time.

You will find a link to the reports[4] here ([0]=im_field_publication_theme%3A2564).


The data collected for the Belgian time use study is unique in that it is gathered on a family level. It is still done using pen and paper, but is also perfectly possible with MOTUS. And so online!