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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 25 - 31  > Idea that women and not men do the housework still deep-rooted in Japan
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2017 October 25 - 31 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Idea that women and not men do the housework still deep-rooted in Japan

October 26, 2017

It is often claimed that as more and more women enter into Japan’s workforce, Japanese men are more enthusiastically engaged in child rearing activities and domestic chores than in the past. However, in reality, most of housework is still done by women.

The Internal Affairs Ministry Basic Survey on Social Life found that in 2016, women spent 3 hours and 28 minutes a day on housework including child care, whereas men spent only 44 minutes.

Even among two-paycheck families, wives shoulder much more domestic duties than husbands. The average time used on housework is 4 hours 54 minutes for women and 46 minutes for men. In contrast, concerning paid work and commuting, men spent 8 hours 31 minutes and women 4 hours 44 minutes. One of factors behind these gaps is that 60% of female workers work under non-regular employment contracts, while only 25% of male workers under such contracts. Non-regular workers work less than 5 hours a day on average.

The survey result report includes a comparison of housework hours between Japan and the United States. In the U.S., women did 3 hours and 49 minutes of housework and men 2 hours 21 minutes. In Japan, women put in 3 hours 38 minutes on domestic duties and men 45 minutes. (Earlier in this article, it was explained that women did 3 hours and 28 minutes of housework and men 44 minutes in Japan. This inconsistency is because some adaptations were made for the sake of comparison). The survey results indicate that Japanese society is still tainted with a traditional idea that housework is the province of women.
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