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Survey: Over 60% Say Housewives Make 'Great Contributions' to Society
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2017-9-6-
Title: Survey: Over 60% Say Housewives Make 'Great Contributions' to Society
Source: Women of China
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Keyword: Survey, Society, Family, Marriage, Housewife

Over 60 percent of those that are married believe full-time housewives make a great contribution to society, according to a latest Chinese survey.

The survey, conducted by the Social Survey Center of China Youth Daily and online survey platform, polled about 2,000 married people. Among them, 29.7 percent said they or their partners were full-time housewives.

Despite the positive outlook, the authors say, the country still needs to enact preferential policies to support such stay-at-home female individuals.

In terms of "the specific turning point of being a housewife", about 60.5 percent of the respondents pointed to the husband having a significantly higher income and 52.9 percent cited "the time for giving birth to children and delaying career development".

Other reasons for why women would become housewives included: household care responsibilities (46.6 percent), heavy pressure on rearing a second child (44.4 percent), moving to another city (34.7 percent), unsatisfactory career development (18.9 percent) and unwillingness to work (16.2 percent).

According to Ma Chunhua, deputy researcher of the Institute of Sociology at the China Academy of Social Sciences, there are two main kinds of housewives in China.

One type is a wife that lives in a family in which the husband's income can cover the household expenses whilst she stays at home to look after the children and elderly.

The other type is where a wife's wage is comparatively low or even less than the fee of hiring a nanny while her husband cannot guarantee the whole family's living costs.

In such situation, the wife has to play a role as full-time caregiver when children are young and most of them have to return to work when children attend kindergarten.

When asked "What kind of impact will it have on women after providing full-time care provision in households?", about 61.1 percent of married people surveyed said their lives would lack a sense of security and 57.7 percent cited they would feel "apart from society".

Meanwhile, 41.6 percent chose "distrust towards husband" with 38.9 percent for "too much expectation to children".

Xiao Min, a middle school teacher in the southwest China municipality of Chongqing, said a housewife may become out of touch with society and have a sense of crisis toward her marriage.

Xiao further said women should look beyond their families to gain a sense of satisfaction. Economic independence is the precondition for women to win respect in various aspects.

"Housewife should take part in some social activities and cultivate interests and hobbies," she added.

According to the survey results, about 26.9 percent of married people surveyed said it was okay for women to be housewives whereas 46.2 percent disagreed with the view.

Meanwhile, nearly four in five said housewives made great contributions to families and about 60 percent valued their dedication to society.

"The family is regarded as the cell of society. Harmonious families and well-educated children can benefit the whole country," said Xiao.

Ma called for men to jointly shoulder household responsibilities, and the government to take some measure to assist women in easing the conflict between work and family.

Meanwhile, Ma took some instances of preferential policies in European countries which China could appropriate.

"With the institutional guarantee of various public-welfare, women have more freedom to choose their lifestyle."

If parents choose to work, the government could provide three-year parental leave and high-quality public childcare facilities for families with children.

Also, some authorities set up specific leave for men, stipulating them to share childrearing liability with women.

If family members choose to look after young children at home, they could enjoy various social welfares such as subsidies, Ma added.

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