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Work Hard, Play Hard?: A Comparison of Male and Female Lawyers' Time in Paid and Unpaid Work and Participation in Leisure Activities


  • This study was funded by a research grant from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The opinions contained in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of LSAC.

Dr. Jean E. Wallace, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, N.W., Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4. E-mail:


Les auteures tentent de déterminer le temps que les professionnels, hommes et femmes, passent à effectuer du travail rémunéré ou non, et la façon dont cela influe sur leur participation à différentes activités de loisirs. Elles se fondent sur des données provenant d'avocats professant dans différents milieux juridiques. Elles constatent que les hommes rapportent consacrer plus de temps au travail rémunéré et aux loisirs, alors que les femmes accordent plus de temps aux travaux ménagers ainsi qu'aux soins des enfants. Les résultats semblent démontrer que les occasions dans l'ensemble plus importantes de loisirs chez les hommes comparées à celles des femmes seraient attribuables à des relations inattendues entre la participation des hommes aux travaux domestiques et aux soins des enfants, et leurs activités de loisirs. Les auteures présentent différentes explications à ces résultats.

There has been a considerable amount of research that documents how women and men spend their time in different work and home tasks. We examine how much time professional women and men spend in paid and unpaid work and how this relates to their participation in different leisure activities. We also explore whether time in paid and unpaid work has gender-specific effects on leisure participation. In examining these issues, we rely on data from lawyers working in different legal settings. Our results show that, as hypothesized, men report more time in paid work and leisure whereas women devote more time to housework and childcare. An unexpected finding is that the time men spend in housework or childcare is either unrelated or positively related to their leisure participation. These results suggest that men's greater overall opportunities for leisure compared with women's appear to stem from the unanticipated relationships between men's involvement in housework and childcare and their leisure activities. We raise several possible explanations for these findings.