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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 04:24 GMT 05:24 UK
Working mothers 'find more child time'
Mother and baby
More women work but the hours are shorter
Working mothers in developed countries around the world are spending more time with their children than was the case in the 1960s, according to new research.

The study shows that although more women are now working than at any time in the last 100 years, they spend an average of 135 minutes a day playing with their children under the age of six, reading to them or caring for them. This compares with 53 minutes in 1961.

The amount of time people are working each week is decreasing

Professor Jonathan Gershuny
For women who do not work the average is 189 minutes a day while 39 years ago the figure was 95 minutes.

The research also found working mothers are spending less time at their jobs. They are employed an average of 233 minutes per day, compared to 325 minutes in 1961.

But part-time female employees are spending more time at work. They spend an average of 201 minutes a day working compared to 164 minutes in the early 1960s.

The study was conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, a department of Essex University, and was based on data gathered by large "time-diary" studies from countries including the UK, America, Australia, Canada and Israel.

Tony and Cherie Blair with baby son, Leo
The Blairs: A working family
The institute's director, Professor Jonathan Gershuny, is due to present some of the findings at a seminar on Friday.

He said: "The way we spend our time is changing. Although many people say their lives are more congested with work than they used to be, in fact it seems that, overall, the amount of time people are working each week is decreasing.

"Parents appear to spend more time involved in childcare than 40 years ago, despite the fact that more mothers are now in the workforce."

But the survey found that family meal times were one area which had suffered over the last 39 years.

The time mothers who are not in paid employment spend eating with their children has fallen from an average of 114 minutes a day in 1961 to 61 minutes.

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09 Oct 00 | UK
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28 Apr 00 | UK
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