Time use in Scotland 2020: ONS Online Time Use Survey - gender analysis

Looks at how time was used in Scotland in 2020 with a focus on gendered differences between women and men.

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2. Time use, participation and how to use this report

This report describes the way that time was spent in Scotland in 2020.The focus is on the ways time use differed by gender[2], and we expect to publish further analysis focusing on other population characteristics, and the ways these characteristics intersected with each other, in 2021.

This data provides an update to the 2014/15 Time Use Survey by Centre for Time Use, University of Oxford, a Scotland-specific analysis of which was published by the Scottish Government in March 2019. These 2020 findings will be an important contribution to the wider policy context of gender equality. OTUS will also provide important insights into how time was spent in Scotland during the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent restrictions, and how this time use varied depending on population characteristics, e.g. age, disability. However, this context should be borne in mind when drawing conclusions about societal trends using the 2020 OTUS. Any changes might be due to the restrictions which were placed on daily life in 2020, and wider trends cannot be assessed until there is post-pandemic time use data available.

The 2020 OTUS also serves a specific purpose in aiding the development of a new Gender Equality Index being created by the Scottish Government. The Index has been developed through a working group which includes a range of different women's organisations. The domains being developed, which comprise of around 6-8 statistical indicators each, are: work; money; time; knowledge; health and power, as well as two satellite domains focusing on violence against women and women's health. This report will inform the findings of the time domain.

This report is published under the label "Experimental Official Statistics" because these statistics are new and still subject to testing in terms of their volatility and ability to meet customer needs. We invite feedback on the content and presentation of this report in order to improve future releases.

The 2020 OTUS utilised pre-coded activity options, allowing respondents to select the relevant activity from an activity list rather than completing time use diaries in their own words. Further details about the 2020 Online Time Use Survey's design will be discussed in the methodology chapter of this report.

Participants in the time use survey recorded their activities at ten minute intervals in time use diaries provided by the researchers. They were asked to provide completed diaries on two randomly allocated days which included, by design, one weekday and one weekend day. Throughout this report, time is reported in average minutes and hours per day. These averages are useful as they give a good indication of a group's time taken up by a type of activity, but it should be recognised that this average will include people that do not engage in certain types of activities on a given day. For example, developmental childcare when averaged across the sample will include people who do not have children. Therefore, average time use should not be confused with the average amount of time taken to do an activity, as there are differences between the two definitions.

Average time use depends on two factors: the number of people participating in an activity on a given day and the amount of time spent participating in that activity. These factors are combined to give a figure for average time use for the population group. Activities that everyone participates in for a short time may look similar to activities that are very time consuming for a smaller sub-group of people. Again, this can be exemplified by looking at developmental childcare. Amongst the entire Scottish sample in 2020 the average time spent on this activity was 15 minutes per day. This looks similar to the time spent by the sample on, for example, household management. However, in actuality for those with children the time spent on developmental childcare was substantially higher than the time spent on household management. This is why for relevant activities (childcare, paid work and study) it is important to consider time use amongst only the population taking part in the activity, rather than just the whole sample.

In this report, the percentage of diary days where the activity took place is reported as well as average time spent on an activity. This is a useful measurement as it can serve to show howpatterns in time use differ between people. For example, while women spent significantly less time on 'other leisure activities' compared to men, they did so on a similar percentage of days - 95% of diary days compared to 98% for men.

'Significant' differences refer to differences between two groups which are statistically significant (see chapter 4 for more details). Comparing time use in this way provides a powerful descriptive tool for analysing how time use differs between groups within the population. While this report does not offer an analysis of why these differences in time use emerge, it provides a framework for informing future analysis and indicate directions for further research. Where a finding is not statistically significant, it does not necessarily mean that there is no relationship present and should not be interpreted as evidence that time use on a relevant activity was equal between women and men. Rather, it should be seen as an area for further research, especially given the relatively small Scottish sample size for the 2020 OTUS.



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