Gender, Employment, and Housework in Japan

Noriko Tsuya, Keio University

This study examines employment and housework among Japanese wives and husbands in midlife, using data from two recent national surveys on the family. My preliminary analysis found as follows. First, family factors such as the presence and age of children and coresidence with parents strongly affect wives' employment patterns but have little effect on husbands' employment patterns. Second, although wives shoulder most of housework, spouses' total workload becomes equal when employment and housework hours are considered jointly. However, wives' total workload increases dramatically as their employment hours increases, indicating the "second shift" of unpaid housework for employed wives. Third, couples' housework hours and husbands' share in housework are influenced by couples' employment hours and family situations such as the presence of children and coresidence with parents. Fourth, husbands' hours and share in housework are notably higher among highly educated wives and husbands aged 20-29 in 2000 (but not in 1994).

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Presented in Session 155: Comparative Perspectives on Couples' Paid and Unpaid Work