Japanese Men Come In Low on Shared Housework Survey

Trends & Culture - April 15th, 2014

Japan has one of the worst rankings for sharing housework equally between men and women, a recent study by the OECD has found.

As suggested by data gathered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it’s not a man’s world after all in some countries. But some countries are still far behind.

In a comparison of working hours of both sexes from 34 OECD member countries, countries that have lighter work hours per week tend to have a more equal distribution of unpaid work, such as domestic chores, between men and women.

Norwegian men put in the most equal mix of housework and paid work, while Japanese men do proportionally the least, shown by the survey that was released last month, ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8).

In Norway and Sweden, traditional gender roles tend to be overlooked because of government regulations that keep paid work hours to a comfortable 37.5 hours per week. This means Scandinavian men have much more time for other activities, including helping around the house. In countries like Japan, where men traditionally have extremely long working hours, the amount of unpaid work done is very low.

In contrast, Turkish women spend the most time doing unpaid work such as household chores or child care, logging 4.4 hours a day, while their male counterparts spend 2.4 hours a day on such tasks.

Mexican women clock in 4.7 hours a day on domestic work, while their men spend an average of 3.1 hours.

Japan is the least equal when it comes to the balance of paid and unpaid work. The average Japanese man works 6.3 hours on paid jobs and chips in 1.5 hours a day on household chores. Japanese women juggle paid jobs and routine housework, especially looking after their children, spending 3.0 and 3.3 hours a day on these activities respectively.

Italian men are the least overworked, spending only 3.2 hours a day on paid jobs and 2.2 hours a day on housework.

The organization concluded that “women are slowly closing the gap with men as more have careers.”

“But there is still a huge gender gap in unpaid work, clearly showing that men are still struggling to lift much more than a finger from time to time in some countries,” the OECD said in a press release.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: “[春日部夏休み] Father & Baby” by scion_cho/Flickr