Academic journal article Canadian Review of Sociology

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

Academic journal article Canadian Review of Sociology

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

Article excerpt

THERE HAS BEEN A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT of research that documents how women and men spend their time in different work and home tasks (e.g., Becker and Moen 1999; Bird and Fremont 1991; Leete and Schor 1994; Sayer 2005). This research has clearly demonstrated that women spend more time performing household and childcare tasks and men spend more time in paid work (Duxbury and Higgins 2001). While a sizable body of literature has examined gender differences in paid work and housework, little research has investigated how these gender differences in paid and unpaid work relate to participation in leisure activities (Sayer 2005). There are a few exceptions, including Sayer's (2005) recent work as well as Bianchi and her colleagues' (e.g., Bianchi et al. 2000; Bianchi, Robinson, and Milkie 2006), but other studies are often out dated or based on small, nonrepresentative samples. Much of these data, while providing detailed minute-by-minute descriptions of how individuals spend their time in specific household or childcare activities, do not typically examine the relationships between the work, family, and leisure domains, nor whether the relationships among these domains differ for women and men.

The first goal of this paper is to examine how much time professional women and men devote to paid and unpaid work and how this time relates to their participation in different leisure activities. That is, is the amount of time spent in paid work and unpaid work (i.e., housework and childcare) associated with how much individuals participate in active, passive, or social leisure activities? Our second goal is to explore whether time in paid and unpaid work has gender-specific effects on leisure participation for professional women and men. Canadian literature clearly shows that women and men spend different amounts of time in paid and unpaid work (Duxbury and Higgins 2001; Frederick 1995; Zukewich 2003), but what is less clear is whether this has different relationships with their participation in leisure. For example, does each additional hour women spend in household or childcare activities have the same relationship with their leisure participation as each additional hour in unpaid labor has for men? Or does each additional hour men spend in paid work have the same relationship with leisure participation as it does for women?

In examining these issues, we rely on data collected from lawyers working in a variety of different legal settings. Lawyers are ideal for several reasons, one being that they are renowned for the long hours they work and another is that many lawyers are required to keep careful track of the hours they work for clients on their cases or files. Thus, they are an ideal sample when it comes to asking them to report on the time they spend in various activities as many are quite accomplished at doing so during their work days. In addition, Canadian literature on the legal profession has clearly demonstrated that lawyers work hard and long hours (Hagan and Kay 1995; Wallace 2005) and we examine in this paper whether they play hard as well. That is, are the demands of their work negatively related to their ability to engage in leisure activities and disengage from work? Many lawyers may have the financial resources to afford the monetary costs associated with leisure, but we examine whether they have the time. In addition, by focusing on a single occupation, such as law, it allows us to control for certain work-related factors that may reflect shared professional norms and expectations regarding allocations of time.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. First, we introduce literature on leisure that distinguishes different types of leisure activities as well as presents explanations as to the benefits of participating in leisure activities. Next, we discuss the intersection of paid work, unpaid work, and leisure and how these may differ for men and women. Following this, we indicate the control variables included in the subsequent analyses. …

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