The ESRI’s report into domestic duties and the apparent disparity in the sharing of the home workload has gained considerable attention over the past week.

This report analysed time diaries kept by over 1000 men and women in 2005, aged from 18 to 97 would you believe, and broke down the tasks of both sexes.

Among the report’s highlights were:

* Men spend more time on paid work than unpaid work (housework and caring). On average men spend four hours 40 minutes on paid work per day and just under two hours on unpaid work per day

* Women spend more time on unpaid work than paid work. On average women spend just over five hours per day on housework and caring and just over two hours per day on paid work.

* Women work an average of 39 minutes longer per day than men. This may have implications for quality of life for women as those who have most committed time experience greater time pressure and lower life satisfaction

* Women spend just over two and a half hours per day on housework whereas men spend 75 minutes per day working on the same chore

* Women spend more time on core domestic activities like cleaning and cooking while men tend to do house repairs and gardening.

* Women spend two and a half hours per day on caring whereas men spend 39 minutes per day on caring

* Women also spend more time on the physical care and supervision of children while men spend a much greater proportion of their time on social childcare such as playing.

“This report identifies gender inequalities in the domestic sphere that significantly disadvantage women,” said Niall Crowley, the Equality Authority’s CEO.

“Women continue to do the bulk of the unpaid work; men do most of the paid work in Ireland. When women work on average 39 minutes longer per day, for example, this could amount to up to one extra month committed time per year.

“These gender inequalities in the domestic sphere also contribute to inequalities for women in the employment sphere”.

He added: “Public policy needs to be supportive of gender equality in the domestic sphere if we are to achieve full equality in practice between women and men.

“Statutory leave entitlements, for example, should be reviewed to ensure they are supportive of gender equality in the domestic sphere.”

Mr Crowley said: “Paternity leave and paid parental leave are required to enhance the role of men in caring and household work.

“The take up by men of flexible working arrangements needs to be promoted and supported, in particular in male dominated workplaces. New state support to increase the availability of accessible and affordable childcare is required.”