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Self-Employed Women Balance Work, Family Life: Study Compares Self-Employed Women To Wage-And-Salary Earners

Release Date: 
Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 5:00am
Release Number: 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Self-employed women are able to spend more time with their children and families, compared to their wage-and-salary earning counterparts, according to a study released today by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The study finds that self-employed women spend about 3.5 more hours per week in household activities than wage-and-salary earning women do, and six more hours than men do.

“Previous studies have established that women enter self-employment for reasons other than potential earnings and that life-style factors heavily influence their decision,” said Shawne McGibbon, Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy. “This study documents that self-employed women’s time-use patterns are in fact different from those of wage-and-salary earning women. Self-employed women spend less time on work-related activities and more time on household activities and child care.”

Advocacy released Self-Employed Women and Time Use, written by Tami Gurley-Calvez, Katherine Harper, and Amelia Biehl, at the National Women’s Business Council’s 2009 Women’s Business Summit in Washington, DC. The report used data from the American Time Use Survey (2003-2006), sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The authors found that the largest differences in time use between self-employed women and men were in the area of secondary childcare, where a parent is at the same location as the child but is primarily engaged in some other activity such as work or household chores. Moreover, they found that self-employed women also work about 10 fewer hours per week than self-employed men do. Interestingly, the authors also found that relative to men, higher-earning women are slightly more likely to enter self-employment than their lower earning peers are.

The Office of Advocacy, the “small business watchdog” of the federal government, examines the role and status of small business in the economy and independently represents the views of small business to federal agencies, Congress, and the President. It is the source for small business statistics presented in user-friendly formats, and it funds research into small business issues.

For more information and a complete copy of the report, visit the Office of Advocacy website at


The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent voice for small business within the federal government. The presidentially appointed Chief Counsel for Advocacy advances the views, concerns, and interests of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policymakers. For more information, call (202) 205-6533.

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