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.


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