According to an article in The Economist, many women in Asia are now rejecting marriage because, although more of them are now working, they are still expected to fulfil the traditional domestic role. The example given is that of Japanese women who will often work outside of the home for 40 hours a week and then spend another 30 hours on housework.
30 hours? That’s more than 4 hours a day. I thought a lot of Japanese people, in the cities at least, lived in appartments or favoured minimalist design such as this –
Now, as some of you may know, I am not a fan of housework and tend to be economical with the vacuum cleaner and a damp duster, but even I could tackle a room like this without fear. Look – no dust collecting ornaments, shelves, books, lampshades, radiators, firplaces – hardly any furniture at all in fact! No rugs, no dogs, no people, no sign of life. I see now where I am going wrong.
Perhaps if I get rid of the stock waiting to go into my vintage shop, ditch the candlesticks and baubles, tear out the log burners and install underfloor heating, kick the kids out, slide the ‘closed’ button on the cat flap and take the dogs down to the rescue centre – my house could look as clean and tidy as this even without spending 30 hours a week on housework.
Flippancy aside, I know not all Japanese people are quite so minimalist (or have what appears to be a mini swimming pool in their bedroom) but 4 hours a day? What do they do? Or, once again I must ask the question, ‘is it me?’
As a footnote – the same article says that, as opposed to the 30 hours a week spent on housework by the women, the men do only 3 hours a week – now, that’s more like it.