1. Survey Results

2. Executive Summary

+ Facts on Current Homemaking and Parenting Partnership in Households

We asked 20 questions on homemaking and parenting partnership. The answer "mostly done by the wife" dominates most questions. Among them, "preparing dinner" and "cleaning toilets" are the top two fields. Parenting is slightly better, but majority of the husbands are just helping their wife.

For analyses, we compiled homemaking and parenting partnerships, HP and PP, weighting the 20 fields based on how demanding they felt for the tasks. Both partnerships span from 0, the wife takes care of everything, to 10, the husband takes care of everything. Results are rather low, with average HP and PP at 1.4 and 2.5, respectively, showing that wives bear most of homemaking and parenting loads.
Although homemaking and parenting partnerships are meager in average, we found a few spots of high partnership households.
Next, we will check if there is any parameters affecting HP and PP.

+ Wife's Job is the Most Decisive Factor

The most decisive factor affecting how much a husband does homemaking and parenting is:

If the wife works full-time bringing
in a relatively high amount of money to the household.

If she does, the husband generally does more homemaking and parenting.

More specifically, we found that the partnerships are virtually the same at a very low level for a full-time housewife and a working wife:
  • If she is working under "the ceiling" of 1.3 million yen/year to get tax exemption for economically depending wife.
  • If she is working shorttime: specifically under five and six hours in HP and PP, respectively.

+ Husband's Job Only Affects Parenting Partnership

A myth on low partnerships is that husbands cannot do housework and parenting because "they are working many hours" and "they bear economic responsibility to support the family or couple."
We found, however, the only parameter on husband's side affecting the partnerships was their work hours. It has a small effect, far smaller than wife's job, only on PP. In fact, more is generally shared in a household with a long-working husband and a fulltime-working wife than with a short-working husband and a non-fulltime-working wife.

Economy is neither a decisive factor. A wife still does homemaking and parenting a lot more than the husband even when the wife earns more than the husband.
There is nonetheless a good sign. Husbands seem to assume responsibility over parenting and try to do it as much as time allows, judging from the trend that shorter work on husbands generally results in higher PP.

+ Husband's Gender Role Beliefs Has Only Indirect Influences

Husband's gender role beliefs do not directly affect HP nor PP. At the first glance of the survey data, husbands with gender role stereotypes, "men for paid work, women for housework," seem to share less homemaking and parenting. However, analyzing the effects with the groups by wife's job revealed inconsistent gender role effects on husbands' side. A husband strongly believing gender role stereotypes tends to have higher HP and PP if he has a wife working fulltime, and a husband with less gender role attitudes tends to have lower HP and PP if he has a wife not working fulltime.

A possible explanation of overall correlation between gender role beliefs and the partnerships is that a wife generally finds it difficult to work fulltime if she has a husband with firm gender role attitudes and a husband tend to weaken his gender role beliefs if he has a fulltime-working wife.
The partnerships are more affected by wife's gender role beliefs. HP tends to be low as expected if the wife has firm gender role attitudes. An interesting point is that PP is not affected by wife's gender role beliefs, probably because even those wives strongly believe gender role stereotypes think that both parents should be involved in parenting.

+ Other Factors

Other factors found interesting are:
  • It is not effective to tell the husband that the wife wants him to share more homemaking and parenting.
  • Talking out homemaking and parenting partnership prior to marriage increases wife's capacity to continue working fulltime resulting in better partnerships especially in parenting.
  • Wives with higher education tend to continue working fulltime resulting in higher HP, while husbands' education has no effects.
  • Relative ages between a husband and wife have weak effects and HP and PP are generally higher if the husband is younger than the wife, while their absolute ages have no effects.
  • Having children lowers HP, but neither the number of them nor their ages affect the partnership.
  • It has no effects over the partnerships who mainly did homemaking in the family a husband and wife were raised.

+ Factors Affecting Homemaking and Parenting Partnerships

We conducted multiple regression analysis to reveal how much each factor affects homemaking and parenting partnerships. Findings are as follows:
  • The most decisive factor over HP and PP is overall working status of the wife manifested in the survey as full/part-time job, earnings, work hours, and earnings differentials between the husband and wife. The partnerships are generally higher when the wife works long and earns much, or closely to that of the husband as a self-employed person or fulltime worker.
  • Other factors affect HP and PP differently.
  • Factors affecting HP are wife's education and children: HP is higher when the wife has high level of education and the couple has no children.
  • Factors affecting PP are husband's work hours and relative ages between the couple: PP is higher when the husband work short-time and he is younger than the wife.

+ Effects of Homemaking and Parenting Partnerships

The small number of husbands with high HP and/or PP positively embrace their situations and they do not think they are forced to share the work. It remains to be seen, however, that "promoting homemaking and parenting partnership" will lead more couples to have more children, because the number of children couples think they can actually have is independent of HP and PP.
People without children normally think "men should also be involved in parenting," but it falls short of the intention when they actually have a child. The disparity is large in households with a wife of non-fulltime worker, especially in those with a full-time housewife.
Husbands generally are more content than wives with overall homemaking and parenting. More specifically, high HP and PP lead to equal and better satisfaction, while low HP and PP result in a large disparity between the husband and wife with the wife a lot more discontent.