Japan Data

Japanese Women Took on the Burden During COVID-19 School Closures

Society Family

During long school closures in Japan, women disproportionately took on the burden of greater housework and childcare.

Many schools across Japan were closed during the COVID-19 state of emergency in April and May. A survey conducted by Nomura Research Institute has revealed that in households with children, women disproportionately took on the burden of housework and childcare.

When men and women were asked how time spent daily on these tasks had changed in comparison to before the outbreak, 27% of respondents said that it had increased by more than two hours and 42% that it had increased, meaning that two in three respondents felt a greater burden.

To cope with this extra work, 31% of men and 10% of women answered that their partner spent more time helping. Among women, 78% reduced their amount of free time and 31% cut back time spent on daily life activities like bathing and sleeping.

In comparison, 25% of men reduced their daily life activities and only 47% cut back on free time. Where men were relatively able to make more time was through reduced work-related hours due to changes in their job situation, such as a shift to working from home, with 44% of men saying this was the case, but only 9% of women.

More men than women showed an interest in childcare sharing platforms, housework support, and housekeeping matching services. Women, on the other hand, were relatively reluctant to use these types of services and the only ones they wished to use more than men were food and grocery delivery services.

The Nomura Research Institute suggests that women raising children are very cost-conscious, making them cautious about using new services, whereas men who are starting to participate more in housework and childcare do not have similar levels of cost awareness.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta)

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