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Overtime Work Has Negative Impact on Women

Gender inequality occurs when husbands work overtime as the practice sustains the “separate sphere” phenomenon in which men are the breadwinners while women tend to the home, finds a new study.

In dual-income households, women are often assumed to be ‘superwomen’ holding down a job while managing the household including taking a primary role with the kids and performing household tasks such as laundry and grocery shopping.

Researchers now discover that when husbands work overtime, women must often quit or cut-back on their jobs.

“Women whose husbands work long hours are more likely to quit their jobs, yet men’s careers are not impacted when their wives put in long hours,” said Youngjoo Cha, author of the study and a doctoral candidate in sociology at Cornell University.

“This suggests a potential return to the ‘separate spheres’ arrangement—breadwinning men and homemaking women—as long hours become increasingly common.”

To determine the impact of longer work hours on dual-earner households, Cha analyzed data from the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, a longitudinal household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that covers calendar years 1995 through 2000. The sample was limited to dual-earner married couples in professional and non-professional employment.

Cha found that women whose husbands worked more than 60 hours per week were 44 percent more likely to quit their own jobs. However, there was no impact on husbands’ odds of quitting when wives worked long hours.

Results were even more pronounced when Cha isolated professional workers. Professional women were 52 percent more likely to quit their jobs when their husbands worked more than 60 hours per week. As in the case of all workers, overworking wives did not affect the employment status of professional men.

Among professionals, husbands were more than twice as likely as wives to work more than 50 hours per week (30 percent of husbands compared to 12 percent of wives). According to Cha, this suggests that in professional occupations, women are less likely to expect spousal support than men are.

Dual-earner households with children were the most likely candidates for the “separate spheres” arrangement Cha discusses. Professional mothers whose husbands worked more than 60 hours per week were 90 percent more likely to quit their jobs than childless women whose husbands did not work long hours.

The effect of overwork was less in the case of non-professionals, yet still had a negative impact on the employment status of women.

Source: American Sociological Association

Overtime Work Has Negative Impact on Women

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Overtime Work Has Negative Impact on Women. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/08/01/overtime-work-negatively-impact-on-women/2683.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.