Japan Data

Working Japanese Women Still Handle Most of the Housework


Despite a rise in female employees, housework remains primarily “women’s work” in Japan.

In married households with children in Japan the wife spends on average 4 hours and 54 minutes a day on housework-related activities, compared to the husband’s 46 minutes, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ September 2017 Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities. In other words, women are doing 6.5-times more housework than men. This survey, which is conducted every five years, revealed that compared to 20 years ago the amount of time married men spend on housework more than doubled, from 20 to 46 minutes, but remained far less than the time spent by women. Even though more and more women have been entering the workforce, the division of labor between spouses at home still places most of the burden on women.

The burden of housework falling mainly on women has been compared to the situation of employees running solo shifts at restaurants and other late-night establishments and working for an exploitative “black corporation,” The strain makes women reluctant to have a second child, thus exacerbating the falling birth rate. Extended childcare leave and systems allowing for shorter working hours are also mainly intended for women, which some suggest impedes women’s chances for career advancement within companies.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © cando/Pixta)

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