Even for college women, gender affects free time

playing video gamesDo women have less free time than men? For years, researchers have answered “yes” to that question. Now they are getting backup from a new study conducted by Michigan State University that surveyed 276 undergraduate students.

Sociologists have written of the phenomon before. Arlie Russell Hochschild wrote of the “70-30” gender split in her 2005 reissue of The Second Shift. Chloe Bird said that once married, women do about twice the amount of work in the home as their spouses.

On the whole, once women marry, they do an additional 14 hours of domestic labor a week while men take on an extra 90 minutes worth, according to Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions by Susan Shaw and Janet Lee.

But the recent Michigan study, focused on how gender affects the amount of time college students spend playing digital games, says the gender split begins even more women marry. Undergraduate female college students spend nearly double the amount of time as male students on jobs, homework and other obligations.

The upshot of this is that young women spend an extra 16 hours per week on such duties, while young men have that time free to play digital games, according to “Gaming, Gender, and Time: Who Makes Time to Play?”, which appears in a recent issue of the journal Sex Roles.

And that just might be a detriment to young women. Why? Because a 2007 study showed that just a few hours of playing video games helps eliminate the differences between men and women on some tasks that require spatial skills.

Who is your feminist icon?

Virginia Woolf, one feminist icon

Virginia Woolf, one feminist icon

I have feminist icons on my mind. That’s why after mentioning them in my post yesterday, I keep bumping into examples of who these icons actually are and what they are doing to help us connect with one another.

Consider these examples:

Each of us identifies with different strong women from the past or present. They could be people you know or people you have only read about.

Who is your feminist icon? Add her or him to the comments section below.

Take action to meet your feminist icon

July 1972 issue of Ms.

July 1972 issue of Ms.

When I was a newly-minted college graduate, I filled a suitcase and a backpack, rolled up my sleeping bag and moved to New York City.

It was June of 1972, the year Ms. magazine began publishing, and I daydreamed about walking into the Ms. offices, meeting the iconic Gloria Steinem, and volunteering my services. But I was too chicken to do that.

Instead, I moved into a tiny Manhattan apartment, got an office job at Rockefeller Center, read a lot of depressing Existentialist writing, prowled around the city, and watched on the sidelines as New York women marched down Fifth Avenue one day that summer.

I thought of joining them, but I didn’t. I knew their causes were my causes. But instead of stepping into the street, I stood on the sidewalk and watched as the women swarmed past St. Patrick’s and Saks and the Channel Gardens.

I remember watching the marchers with curiosity and interest. I remember wondering who they were and where they hung out and where they were headed that day. 

I was too afraid to discover the answers to my questions — although I never identified my feeling as fear at the time. 

I have few regrets in life, but not joining that march is one of them. Feeling too timid to volunteer at Ms. magazine is another.

The moral of my story is this: Don’t let fear keep you still or silent.  Take action. Speak out. You might get to meet an icon of your own.

Tim Ryan booted off board for supporting contraception

Congressman Tim Ryan at an Ohio event with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Congressman Tim Ryan and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi surrounded by admirers at a fall 2007 Ohio event

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) was removed from the Democrats For Life of America‘s advisory board because he supports contraception, according to Feministing.com and the Youngstown Vindicator.

The much-loved congressman from the 17th district says he was “booted” from the board — of which he was a member for four years — after trying to convince the group to support contraceptive use as part of a plan to stop unplanned pregnancy, according to Feministing.

Read the full story.

Get more about Sotomayor on the Web

sotomayorTune in to live blogging from AAUW of the final day of Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor here.

Read more about the four days of hearings and Judge Sotomayor here.