1. Survey Results

1. Overview

1. Objectives

People obviously need to work for pay and at the same time do cooking, laundry, and other homemaking tasks in daily lives. Each generation has their typical work/family arrangements. Now in Japan, men bear most of economic responsibility to support family, while women bear most of domestic responsibility including homemaking, parenting, and caregiving.

There has been certain change found in this domain, and more and more people come to think that men and women should have equal responsibility over both economic and domestic fronts. The Japanese government is also trying to steer to the course with Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government. A slowly diminishing but still serious impediment against equal economic responsibility is low earnings of women: they make only 66% of what men do even with full-time jobs. A large portion of women quit their job to give birth and/or do parenting. Most of them later reenter the labor market as a part-time worker to earn still less money: currently 68% of full-time working women, and it is further declining.

It is a fact, on the other hand, a very limited number of men assume domestic responsibility. An evidence: only 0.4% of men take child-care leave, while 56.4% of women do. The low rate of domestic responsibility assumed on the male side should probably be one of the reasons why so many women have to disrupt their carrier to end up with a part-time job.

Is there any reason that men cannot take domestic responsibility that even full-time working women actually assume? There are certainly some commonly claimed reasons:

Men have occupational work to support family and come back home late. Men are exhausted with long work hours. People have a strong mindset of gender role stereotypes: "men for paid work, women for housework."

Are they the true reasons? In other words, decreasing work hours will lead every man to do more homemaking and/or parenting? Shifting the mindset to "men too should do homemaking" will have a positive effect?

These are the simple questions that we ourselves wanted to have an answer when we decided to do the survey on homemaking and parenting partnership in households.

2. Subjects of the Survey

Married persons living in Koganei City, Tokyo; a husband or wife of a couple of which the husband is 20-49 year old.

Subjects of the survey were randomly sampled from the Basic Resident Register with cooperation of Koganei City government.

Female 795 (Collected: 172; Collection ratio: 21.6%) Male 1192 (Collected: 118; Collection ratio: 9.9%) Total 1987 (Collected: 290; Collection ratio: 14.6%)

3. Methodology

Questionnaires were sent and received by mail.

4. Conducted Period

January 9-31, 2003

5. Conducting Body

Homemaking Project
Child Care Hours for Men and Women Network

6. Notes

  1. The project received a grant from Tokyo Women's Plaza through their grant program for private sector activities in FY 2002.
  2. Substantial contribution from Workshop on Social Service Policies, Tokyo Institute of Technology, is acknowledged.
  3. There is a preceding survey in 1995, "Men cannot do housework because they are busy?" conducted in Fukuoka City. Anybody interested in change over time or by areas is encouraged to check the last report at kaji1995, though only Japanese version is available.