ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Daily dynamics in gay and lesbian couples in Spain and the USA

Kimberly Fisher, Yiu-Tung Suen

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 10 - Law Building, Room 105
Date: 2012-07-11 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-04


Historically, time use surveys collecting patterns of daily activities often have had an association with the promotion of social justice. Early surveys, such as Maud Pember-Reeves Roundabout a Pound a Week, recorded total hours of paid and unpaid domestic work as well as measures of quality of life of working class poor families to inform policy to improve conditions for the poor and to recognise the volume of work done by women. The Beijing Platform for Action from the United Nations, Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 urged more countries to collect time use data to reveal the extent of women’s economic contributions. Since that UN initiative, numerous time use publications have explored the economic contribution of women and dynamics of relations between heterosexual couples with an aim to inform gender justice. Other recent time use work considers work done by carers, as well as the social inclusion and quality of life of the very old and people with disabilities. The lesbian and gay communities, however, remain invisible in time use research, not least because no major time use surveys ask any question about sexuality. Nevertheless, a number of surveys do collect detailed household matrix information recording the relationship between household members. We use the Multinational Time Use Study harmonised comparative collection of daily activity diaries to explore daily dynamics in gay and lesbian couples. Harmonised European Time Use Surveys collected in Spain by the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica in 2002-03 and 2009-2010, as well as the American Time Use Study (2003-2010) collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, contain sufficient sample sizes for us to undertake initial explorations of lifestyles, including time couples spend together, timing and location of leisure and work activities, co-ordination of schedules, and sharing of domestic tasks. While identified couples constitute only one element of the wider LGBT community, we use this paper to demonstrate the value of research the daily activities of LGBT people.