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Hard Workers

December 08, 1985|DONALD WOUTAT

Here's one for the sexism debate: Sociologists at UC Santa Barbara have concluded that women work harder than men, both at home and on their jobs.

Academicians William and Denise Bielby base their conclusions on the perceptions of 1,515 working men and women who were part of a national survey conducted by the University of Michigan.

According to UC Santa Barbara, the Bielbys analyzed data from the Michigan survey and found that women "give more time and attention to their jobs than men despite the fact that women also spend more than twice as much time on household tasks."

This analysis relied on what the 1,515 men and women said about themselves. More women than men, the sociologists said, reported having jobs that "call for considerable physical or mental effort and at which they expend greater effort than is required."

This, they went on, runs contrary to a long-held assumption that women spend less energy on their jobs because of their family and household responsibilities. By this largely discredited reasoning, women tend to seek less demanding jobs.

To the suggestion that women might merely perceive their jobs to be harder because they're tired from doing all that work at home, Denise Bielby responds, "If that were the case . . . we would not expect higher scores from women on . . . the effort put into a job beyond what is required. This area should be precisely where women make the trade-off, reducing effort in the workplace in order to meet family obligations."

The study adds:

"Ironically, our results suggest that an astute employer would do better by discriminating against men."

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