Leisure participation patterns and gender: the survey evidence on Australian adults

Publisher:
Australian and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Annals of Leisure Research, 2011, 14 (2-3), pp. 120 - 142
Issue Date:
2011-01
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In recognition of the principle that quantitative methods have a role to play in gender-related studies of leisure, alongside qualitative methods, this paper draws on past and current official Australian national surveys to examine mens time use and leisure participation patterns. Three frequently asserted observations on leisure and gender, and mens leisure behaviour in particular, are addressed. First, the proposition that early survey-based leisure research was `gender blind is shown to have not generally been the case in Australia. Second, it is shown that, while it is broadly true that men have more leisure time than women, this is not the case for some key socio-demographic groups. Third, the observation that men have higher levels of participation in leisure activities than women often relies on data on sport and physical recreational activities only, but when a comprehensive definition of leisure is adopted, including such categories as cultural activity and informal outdoor recreation, and when frequency of participation is taken into account, it is found that, while leisure patterns of men are different from those of women, the quantum of participation does not significantly favour men. The paper also addresses the issue of change over time, showing that gender-related patterns of time-use and leisure participation in Australia have changed over recent decades, suggesting that observations based on quantitative empirical data should be reviewed from time to time as new data become available. Finally, the paper examines the life-time distribution of time, revealing a remarkable similarity between men and women.
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