Dutch men get more time to relax than women

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A mother with her kids (Photo: Peter van der Sluijs/Wikimedia Commons). (A mother with her kids (Photo: Peter van der Sluijs/Wikimedia Commons))

While men and women in the Netherlands have about the same amount of free time, women spend more of their free time in care related duties and struggle to relax, according to a new study by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau and Atria. 

The study was done on behalf of Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education, Culture and Science.

The study found that on average women do not have less free time than men - they spend more time on household and care related tasks, but less time on paid work. But their free-time is less free than that of men. Women's free time is also more fragmented than men's, they spend more of their free time with children, and often do chores instead of relaxing.

Women also tend to feel more responsible for the emotional well-being of their family than men do. This "emotion work" comes at the expense of their relaxation during free time, according to the SCP. While men see time at home as free and relaxing time. Women tend to experience it as another shift at work.

The study also showed that Dutch women often choose to keep working part time, even after their kids are a bit older, to have more time for themselves or other duties, rather than a lack of interest in their career.

A fifth of men in the study indicated that they would like to spend less time at work, especially young fathers.

Minister Bussemaker thinks women doing part time work to get more time for other things is a waste of talent. And she believes that the solution lies with the men who want to work less, she said to broadcaster NOS in reaction to the study. The men who want to do so should discuss working less with their partners and employers, and the women should set their boundaries. "They maybe have to let things go somewhat more often and men could do a little more at home."

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