Role Overload: Preferences for Wife's Employment in Japan

Larry Bumpass, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Minja K. Choe, East-West Center
Noriko Tsuya, Keio University
Ronald R. Rindfuss, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East-West Center

Japan has one of the most extreme gender-role divisions in the industrial world with domestic tasks falling almost exclusively on the wife. Nonetheless, almost two thirds of wives under age 50 are employed. Would employed wives and mothers rather remain full-time housekeepers or work only a few hours a week? Are Japanese men opposed to their wives’ being employed, especially full-time? Using data from a national survey in Japan in 2000, we examine the number of hours wives say they would prefer to work, and the number of hours husbands say they would like their wife to work. While almost two-fifths of the wives are full-time homemakers, less than one-tenth of wives and one-eighth of husbands state this preference. Indeed, a third of both husbands and wives prefer that the wife work 35 or more hours a week. These preferences are examined by family and economic factors.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 2