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More than one in three Japanese working women in survey would rather be housewives

34 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Women joining the workforce after finishing their education has been the norm in Japan for quite some time. Transitioning to life as a fulltime homemaker after marriage or childbirth is still relatively more common in Japan than it is in many Western nations, though, and it’s not a lifestyle that’s devoid of appeal to Japanese women, a recent survey suggests.

Sony Life Insurance Co has released the data from its seventh annual Women’s Lifestyle Awareness Survey, which collected answers from 1,000 Japanese women between the ages of 20 and 69. One of the questions asked of the 675 working participants was “Do you actually want to be a housewife?”, and more than one in three replied “Yes.”

Do you actually want to be a housewife?

● Women aged 20-29

Yes: 33 percent

No: 40.6 percent

● Women aged 30-39

Yes: 43.2 percent

No: 33.3 percent

● Women aged 40-49

Yes: 30.3 percent

No: 41.4 percent

● Women aged 50-59

Yes: 28.7 percent

No: 50 percent

● Women aged 60-69

Yes: 24.1 percent

No: 51.8 percent

● Total for all ages

Yes: 35.2 percent

No: 40.6 percent

You’ll notice that the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up. Whether that’s because the idea of housewife life became less attractive as the respondents acquired more life experience, or because the older respondents have been working for a longer time and their professional lives have become a stronger positive part of their identities, is a question the survey didn’t probe.

In addition to age, the survey also broke responses to the question down by whether or not the working women have children. While being able to spend more time with your kids might seem like a positive aspect of being a homemaker, it turns out that childless women were more likely to want to get out of the workforce.

Do you actually want to be a housewife?

● Women with children

Yes: 30.6 percent

No: 40.6 percent

● Women without children

Yes: 35.2 percent

No: 40.6 percent

It’s also worth noting that when the survey asked the working women “Do you think that there are many societal disadvantages for working women?” 67.0 percent said they think there are, as opposed to just 8.3 percent who think there aren’t, which would imply that among the working women who’d rather be housewives, for some of them it might not be because being a housewife sounds so great, but simply because it sounds better than working.

Source: PR Times via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Do women who love manga have a harder time finding real-life romance?

-- Majority of Japanese women in poll support idea of men-only train cars

-- Wait, the Japanese word daijoubu can mean both “yes” and “no?” Why? HOW?!?

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
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This must be so frustrating for Western feminists who decry the so-called lack of opportunities for women in Japan. "Why are only 1% of women in (insert employment role here)?!" etc etc.

Statistics such as these suggest, perhaps, Japanese women just aren't interested.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

for some of them it might not be because being a housewife sounds so great, but simply because it sounds better than working.

Yes, and just because a proportion of women might want to be housewives, it is still not right to deny opportunities to those who don't.

(“Do you actually want to be a housewife?” might be a confusing question actually. Some may be thinking about right now, and some may be thinking about in the future. I am not sure how the question was delivered but it is possible this confusion is eliminated in Japanese.)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The conclusions reached don't seem to match the figures given.

the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up

No they don't.

Women aged 20-29

Yes: 33 percent

● Women aged 30-39

Yes: 43.2 percent

● Women aged 40-49

Yes: 30.3 percent

● Women aged 50-59

Yes: 28.7 percent

● Women aged 60-69

Yes: 24.1 percent

it turns out that childless women were more likely to want to get out of the workforce.

No it doesn't

● Women with children

No: 40.6 percent

● Women without children

No: 40.6 percent

Am I missing something?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I remember many foreign women, many from California, looking down on the "brainwashed" Japanese women that wanted children and to be home raising those kids back in the 80's. No complaints with women expressing desire to raise kids.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

You’ll notice that the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up.

As mentioned before this is not what the numbers show, but the opposite. And one very likely explanation is not even mentioned, since the sample is "working participants" this means the population is self selecting over time, women that wanted to stop working simply did it, which would make the remaining participants more likely to respond that they would like to keep working as this is the choice they are taking over time, this alone could explain why the "no" response gets progressively higher.

It’s also worth noting that when the survey asked the working women “Do you think that there are many societal disadvantages for working women?” 67.0 percent said they think there are, as opposed to just 8.3 percent who think there aren’t,

Which in Japan should be an obvious explanation of the situation. If women are getting severe disadvantages on their jobs (like making them choose between having children and keeping their positions) it is natural that a lot of them feel easier to opt out.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Why do people think having to work a job is a good thing? A job is just a means to get money to survive. If I had the money I would never want to work either.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Why do people think having to work a job is a good thing? A job is just a means to get money to survive.

People commonly want to do productive things, not everybody feels contempt with leeching from society without offering anything in return. To cooperate is a very human trait, so much that people do it even without pay, because they get the other benefits (self growth, socialization, feeling proud at doing something well, etc.)

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

You’ll notice that the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up. 

Absolutely correct.

“Do you actually want to be a housewife?”, and more than one in three replied “Yes.”

This makes sense, especially with the move to remote work these days.

The housewife is the original remote worker.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up

My theory is that as they get older, there is less pressure from old managers because the younger women are the ones usually getting harassed at work. There is a lot of pressure for younger women because of the term "wakai kara gaman suru" and they have to do all the dirty work like tender to the managers and become the poster girl for the company. If a obasan says she's leaving work at 5, then no one bats an eye nor wants to argue knowing they will lose, but if a younger person says she's leaving then you will get people jumping all over them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Two words:

a) brainwashing; b) resignation.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You’ll notice that the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up.

Erm...No it doesn't.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

You’ll notice that the number of “yes” responses gets progressively higher as the respondents’ ages go up. 

Absolutely correct.

Going from 33% to 43.2% and then to 30.3%, 28.7%, 24.1% is in no way "progressively higher" that would make the statement incorrect.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Going from 33% to 43.2% and then to 30.3%, 28.7%, 24.1% is in no way "progressively higher" that would make the statement incorrect.

Your mistake is not reading the article, and not understanding the numbers and the demographics in Japan behind the numbers.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

People commonly want to do productive things, not everybody feels contempt with leeching from society without offering anything in return. To cooperate is a very human trait, so much that people do it even without pay, because they get the other benefits (self growth, socialization, feeling proud at doing something well, etc.)

To me, this is just brainwashing by the elites via “education” to provide them the labor force so that only they themselves can enjoy life while everyone else waste almost every moment of their life to make the elites more money.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Your mistake is not reading the article, and not understanding the numbers and the demographics in Japan behind the numbers.

This is not really that difficult, the percentages are not going progressively higher, there is no misunderstanding about that (can you point out exactly how it is that "yes" responses go higher according to you?) Just saying you are the only one understanding something correctly has not value when you are completely unable to explain how the sentences are actually correct.

In fact replacing "higher" for "lower" is the only way the following sentences would make sense, because they are all attempts to explain why the percentages would go lower, not higher.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

They'll be happier having a traditional lifestyle: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/18/womens-rights-happiness-wellbeing-gender-gap

2 ( +5 / -3 )

To me, this is just brainwashing by the elites via “education” to provide them the labor force so that only they themselves can enjoy life while everyone else waste almost every moment of their life to make the elites more money.

Yes, and also a way to disrupt the traditional family structure.

Raising a family is very productive and should be very fulfilling...

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Had to read the article twice to make sense of it, women saying "yes" to becoming housewives more with higher age? and this is explained by housewife life being less attractive and professional life more rewarding the older the woman gets? Then I saw the "Read more stories from SoraNews24", which explains everything.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The term “housewife” is out of place these days. There are instances of the husband staying at home.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes, and also a way to disrupt the traditional family structure.

So people wanting to be productive is a way to disrupt the traditional family structure? that would mean that the only acceptable option to have a "good" family is that both parents stay at home.

They'll be happier having a traditional lifestyle:

That is part of the problem, women get an extra burden compared with men, so they never become just working individuals like men can do, they can only become housewives or working-housewives.

Or as your own source says:

Therefore, because women with jobs often do most of the chores and childcare, they shoulder a dual burden that cuts into their sleep and fun. Long commutes are thought to make British women more miserable than British men because of the greater pressure on women to meet responsibilities at home as well as work.

It is not that working is less fulfilling for women than being at home, it is that women are expected to perform both things at the same time when working, which is a problem with society.

 Then I saw the "Read more stories from SoraNews24", which explains everything.

In the original in Japanese (linked at the bottom) it says

年代別にみると、20代では『そう思う(計)』(43.2%)が『そう思わない(計)』(33.3%)を上回りました。『そう思う(計)』の割合は、30代33.3%、40代30.3%、50代28.7%、60代24.1%と、年代が上がるほど低くなる傾向がみられました

Which would be translated correctly as

*it can be seen that the number of “yes” responses gets progressively lower as the respondents’ ages go up*.

The percentages in the English version are also all wrong, the youngest group had a 43.2% that progressively goes lower to a final 24.1%

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Yes, and also a way to disrupt the traditional family structure.

So people wanting to be productive is a way to disrupt the traditional family structure?

No.

that would mean that the only acceptable option to have a "good" family is that both parents stay at home.

What???

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No

Oh, so only women can be guilty of this then. Based exactly on what argument?

What???

The quote you are agreeing with claims that wanting to be productive and work is just a conspiracy that manipulates people to only feel well if they cooperate with society and work (thus providing "labor force". And you argue this is also a way to disrupt an arbitrary concept of the traditional family structure.

Since this supposed mind control would be affecting everybody (not only women) then according to your argument this means the only acceptable family is one where nobody feels the need to work (no longer "brainwashed") and instead stays at home. 

At no point there is any disticntion that would make women different than men in this aspect, so either everybody should be supported in order to find fulfillment in work or nobody should be, which is it?

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

50% of Japanese work for themselves including farming and restaurants when the wife certainly works.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Interesting. Goes against the feminist narrative.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Man, I would love to just be a housewife all day long. Beats my job Monday to Friday.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The term “housewife” is out of place these days. There are instances of the husband staying at home

Not Really. Those are called "stay at home husbands".

The curious thing is why is society trying to shame any family that chooses to have one parent stay at home in the name of "choice".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Interesting. Goes against the feminist narrative.

As a reference that has been commented here before this is not the case, when a woman is only given the option of being a housewife or being a housewife that also have to work it is obvious that not all will choose to have the unfair double pressure. The actual aim of feminism is to equalize the situation to men, where having a job is seen as a good enough role that do not require also to do the housework as well.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yes, and just because a proportion of women might want to be housewives, it is still not right to deny opportunities to those who don't.

And what about the other way around? By making dual income households the norm, it means that comparatively, single income households are going to find it more difficult to compete in the housing market, putting their kids into good schools etc. If most households are dual income, then those that want to be housewives (or, in admittedly a much rarer scenario, househusbands) might be denied the opportunity because they can no longer compete financially with those families on dual income.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd be a househusband in a heartbeat if my wife could command the same fees.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My wife stays home and works really hard keeping the house and family members affairs in order. She definitely doesn't slack off watching TV or prancing round designer shops and cafes all day, as many people like to think all housewives do. To be honest, I actually encourage her to give herself a break sometimes and do just that but she's very stubborn!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Considering 70-80% of salarymen are unhappy about their work, this is a very stupid survey and would only be interested if the same question was asked to men too. Truth is, it’s a culturally and gender biased question from which no conclusions should be taken if not that the stereotype of housewife as an alternative to work (and not an addition to work) is still alive and strong. Everyone knows that the question really being asked is “do you actually want to be only a housewife?” instead of working and being also a housewife anyway.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This must be so frustrating for Western feminists who decry the so-called lack of opportunities for women in Japan. "Why are only 1% of women in (insert employment role here)?!" etc etc.

That’s assuming the statistics for men is different. It’s highly probable that same percentage of men would rather stay at home, or do leisure, and not work 9-5.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is 1/3 really that high? Results may not be that far away in other countries I would say

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Probably 1/3rd of people everywhere are dissatisfied with something about their life. All the surveys in the world won’t change a life. That’s all up to the individual.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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