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August 2, 2012

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More men than women favor flipping roles

MORE local men have accepted the idea of the "working wife and house husband" than have women, as the phenomenon has grown among young Chinese in recent years, a survey released by Shanghai Women's Federation showed yesterday.

The idea has overturned the traditional notion of Chinese families in which husbands should earn more money than their wives and women should spend more time doing housework and looking after children.

The new "working wife" idea has wives providing most of the income and their husbands staying at home, doing most of the housework.

The survey involved 234 local residents through online questionnaires, including 101 men and 133 women. But the survey report didn't require them to mark their ages.

More than 93 percent of the respondents said they have heard about this new family mode, but only about 10 percent said that their families actually look like that.

Nearly half of the male respondents said they are willing to become a "house husband" if their living conditions and surroundings allow them to do so, while more than 55 percent of the female respondents said they "definitely" don't want to see their husbands stay at home.

Only 3.85 percent of the respondents believe that "house husbands" will be widely acknowledged in the country.

"A man should be reliable. If a man stays at home, people will think he is a coward and a loser," said Cai Qingying, a 57-year-old housewife who retired 10 years ago.

"Men should make more money and have a higher social status so that his wife can enjoy an easy life. On the other hand, women should focus more on family and do more housework," she said.

"Also, women are more suitable than men to stay at home and take care of children," Cai added.

Although three-fourths of the respondents thought the family mode of "working wife and house husband" is less stable than the traditional one, many people still want to have a try.

"The entire world is talking about gender equality. And it should not just be talking," said Luke Lu, a 25-year-old employee with China Communications Bank.

Lu said men should be given the opportunity and tolerance to choose the job they like, even if that job is house husband.

"Since men and women shall be equally treated in work and social status, why couldn't a man become a house husband just like a housewife?" Lu said. "Indeed, there are some women who are more capable at earning money, and there are also some men who are better at doing housework and looking after children."

The number of housewives in China is smaller than in some developed countries, the report said. The top reason among respondents is that the money that Chinese men earn is inadequate to support their family spending.

Other reasons include the social security insurance system in China is incomplete and Chinese women want to be more financially independent.


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