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The gender gap in work–life balance satisfaction across occupations

Maryam Dilmaghani (Department of Economics, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada)
Vurain Tabvuma (Department of Management, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 15 July 2019

Issue publication date: 23 July 2019




The purpose of this study is to compare the gender gaps in work–life balance satisfaction across occupations. Due to data limitations, the studies of work–life balance satisfaction have generally relied on researcher collected data. As a result, large-scale studies encompassing all occupations in the same social and policy context are rare. In several cycles of the Canadian General Social Survey, the respondents are directly asked about their work–life balance (WLB) satisfaction. The present paper takes advantage of this unique opportunity to compare the gender gap in WLB satisfaction across occupations in Canada.


This paper pools four cross-sectional datasets (N = 37,335). Multivariate regression analysis is used.


Women in management and education are found to have a lower WLB satisfaction than their male counterparts. Conversely, and rather surprisingly, a WLB satisfaction advantage is found for women in transport over males in this occupation. Further investigation shows that the female WLB advantage in transport is driven by the relatively low WLB satisfaction of males in this occupation, while the opposite is true for education.

Social implications

The findings are discussed in light of the WLB policies and their increasing gender-blindness.


This paper is the first large-scale study which compares the gender gap in WLB satisfaction across occupations, in a given policy context.



Dilmaghani, M. and Tabvuma, V. (2019), "The gender gap in work–life balance satisfaction across occupations", Gender in Management, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 398-428.



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