HOW SA WOMEN JUGGLE THEIR MULTIPLE ROLES

Monday, January 1, 0001

A 1st for Women Insurance survey has revealed that on a daily basis, SA moms are pressurised by their multiple roles and responsibilities. Many women have given up the desire to be supermom and instead adopted a new normal that is less about fulfilling external expectations of perfection and more about making it work on their own terms.petrol price increase

The “I Don’t Know How She Does It” survey recently conducted by 1st for Women Insurance on the Mamahood group on Facebook shows how South African mothers juggle their traditional roles (caregiver, mother, nurturer) as well as their historically male roles (breadwinner, decision maker, finance). The survey was answered by 346 women.

“They were asked how much time they spent at work, and the largest proportion (28%) said that they worked a fairly regular six- to eight-hour day. 21% work a regular working week with some overtime, while a troubling 5% work more than 50 hours a week,” says Robyn Farrell, Executive Head of 1st for Women Insurance.

They were then asked how much time they spend with their partners and children, and the results turned up some surprising numbers.

“The majority (30%) said that they spend 10 to 20 hours with their children, with 24% saying that their children take up less than ten hours of their week. Fortunately, only 1% said that they didn’t have any time to spend with their children at all,” says Farrell.

On the other hand, 13% said that they had no time for their partners, while over half said that they spend less than 10 hours together with their partners every week.

The survey then asked how women divided their time between friends and family, health and fitness, cooking, cleaning and maintaining their homes, travelling to and from work, and on leisure activities. The things that most women said they had the least time for were health and fitness (52%), leisure activities (38%) and friends and family (16%).

They did however make time for housework - 43% of women spend between three and six hours on housework every week.

“At a glance, these statistics show that women have less time to spend on leisure and fitness, and spend more time working and doing housework than just about anything else. What is clear is that there isn’t a lot of room for “me time” in the average woman’s schedule. However, if there were, the thing that most women (26%) love doing is being pampered at a spa, but that’s followed closely by the number of women (23%) who do not usually take any “me time” at all,” says Farrell.

Unsurprising, then, that when they were asked what they wished they could do more of, “looking after myself” and “spending time with my children or family, husband or children” were the comments that came up most frequently. “And when we asked them what they most wanted, many women answered “to be given a break”, “to have more time”, and “to be appreciated,” says Farrell.

“Women of South Africa, we hear you. I know just how hard it can be to balance a job, the demands of life, partners, children, family, friends and trying to carve out a little bit of time to replenish yourself. Always putting others first also places an enormous amount of pressure on you. While nothing can give you the gift of more time, I urge you to try to find just a little for yourselves to recharge and re-energise. While you’re doing that, take heart from these statistics that you are not alone – South Africa is full of women like you. You may not always get the recognition you deserve but know that you’re doing an amazing job at juggling your numerous responsibilities,” concludes Farrell.

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