Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) have suggested that women should work fewer hours than men because they often have to take care of domestic duties.
The study, led by Dr. Huong Dinh, recommended a 34-hour-week limit for women compared to 47 hours per week for men because women spend more time on domestic responsibilities compared to men.
Dinh warned that the extra responsibilities for women could take a toll on their mental health.
"Long work hours erode [people's] mental and physical health, because it leaves less time to eat well and look after themselves properly," Dinh said, as reported by The Sun.
"Given the extra demands placed on women, it's impossible for women to work [the] long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health," he added.
Professor Lyndall Strazdins, a co-researcher at the ANU, has expressed concern about how longer working hours for women can affect their mental health.
"If we encourage women to try to attain those work hours, we're basically confronting them with a trade off between their health and gender equality," Strazdins said, as reported by Daily Mail.
Strazdins suggested that women should be rewarded fairly for working 38 hours or more each week.
"It's going to be a slow and difficult process because it is a major social change," he said, according to Daily Mail.
The survey involving 8,000 Australian participants showed that 66 percent of full-time employees work more than 40 hours a week on their job.
Statistics released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that women spend an average of 4.5 hours every day doing domestic chores, such as cooking and cleaning, while men only spend half that time.
The researchers at ANU suggested that work should be limited to 39 hours per week instead of 48 hours to avoid health risks.
Vice News reported that working more than 39 hours a week had increased the risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Australia reportedly spends AU$8 billion each year to treat mental health problems in women, while losing AU$11 billion each year in lost productivity.
Strazdins contended that Australians need to discard the assumption that doing a good job means working longer hours.