In her first counterblast Laurie says:
In recent years, both men and women have found that their working hours have increased
In the next paragraph she says:
Men do work longer hours in many industries – but only if you subscribe to the view that paid work is the only work that counts. Women’s unpaid caring, childrearing and domestic labour contributes tens of billions of pounds to this economy, and 35 years after the Equal Pay Act, women’s share of the domestic load remains close to double that of men.
So, quite clearly, Laurie thinks that we should be measuring both paid and unpaid, market and household production, hours, as being work.
Good, I both agree and approve of this.
But if we do do this, as we should, we find however that male and female working hours have been decreasing for the past century or more. For while female market working hours have been rising, male market working hours have been falling. And household production hours for both sexes have been falling: for women by more than market working hours have increased.
Thus by using the definition of working hours that Laurie urges us to use we cannot then say that working hours have increased, for that would be illogical.
Still as I never tire of pointing out, Laurie is the Germaine Greer of our days so it’s only another 40 years before she too will have a gardening column.