British women are the queens of leisure? Give me a break

theguardian: bu Brigid Schulte —

Real leisure can’t be measured in leftover scraps. It’s something you choose – and it’s never been part of women’s culture

British women are “queens of leisure”, luxuriating for five and a half hours a day in the soul-refreshing time that ancient Greeks said was the point of a good life, according to new data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. It ranked British women well ahead of women in the supposed “cafe societies” of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain for the amount of time they spend idling away in an idyllic haze.

A few years ago John Robinson, a time-use researcher, told me that I, a stressed, guilty, hyper-parenting, obsessively tidying working mother of two, enjoyed 30 hours of leisure a week – more than women in the 1960s when fewer worked outside of the home. When I told him he was out of his mind, he challenged me to keep a time diary.

When I finally managed to bring Robinson my time diaries he found 27 hours of what he called leisure and I called scraps. Ten minutes here. Fifteen minutes there. Listening to the radio news for 20 minutes while I tried to get out of bed. Even sitting in my broken-down car waiting for a tow truck. All leisure.


Categories: Europe, UK, Women

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