Men aged 15 and over spend 6.9 hours a day for paid work, while women spend nearly 5.2 hours, according to a survey conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
Time Use Pilot Survey 2012, the country's first survey on the use of time, has provided comprehensive statistics on people's average work hours according to paid work, unpaid work, other work and leisure activities, said Md Nojibur Rahman, secretary of the Statistics and Informatics Division.
These data will help assess contributions of the informal sector in measuring the nation's gross domestic product, Rahman said.
The survey will measure multiple tasks that women perform at home in 24 hours, which are not measured in the current GDP. In other words, the survey will measure the unpaid, productive work of housewives.
“The report will help empower women as we will recognise their contribution to the economy through this survey,” Rahman said at the launch of the survey at the BBS headquarters.
“We can reform policies based on the survey report,” he said. It is the right time to do more with four assets: time, technology, people and money, he added. It will help make invisible work more visible.
Employed women spend about 3.6 hours a day doing household work, while men spend about a third of the time, 1.4 hours, doing the same, according to the report.
There are no significant difference in time spent on leisure and other work between men and women, the report added.
However, non-employed women spend 6.2 hours a day on household work, while men spend 1.2 hours, the survey showed.
The time survey has social and economical importance as we can develop policies based on the report, said Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh.
“Women's contribution to the economy will be more visible to the policy makers through this report,” Kabir said.
Men in Dhaka spend the most time—7.5 hours on average—on paid work, while women spend 6.3 hours, the report said.
On the other hand, men in Rajshahi spend the lowest time on paid work: 5.7 hours a day, while women spend 4.4 hours.
The survey's main objective is to provide estimates on the amount of time spent in various activities of the population aged 15 years and above, said BBS Director General Golam Mostafa Kamal.
All stakeholders should work together to develop the country's statistical base, he added.
Kabir Uddin Ahmed, deputy director of BBS, presented the survey results. BBS collected data from 10,002 people from 3,780 households in May from all divisions in the country last year to conduct the survey.