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Full-Time Housewife: Most Women's Choice
Fewer Women Are Willing to Take Jobs

As experts are busy looking for ways to help laid-off women get re-employed, an investigation of 2,000 couples, made by the Women’s Federation of Beijing’s Haidian District, shows more than 60 percent of the professional women are willing to be full-time housewives; only more than 30 percent of them are determined to work until the age of retirement. Some people believe this is a retrogression of the society, and others think it is a sign of the social progress.

Full-time housewives (except those laid-off) occupy only 4.5 percent (2.6 percent for women under 40) of the investigated career women. But among the investigated, 14.8 percent think it is acceptable to be a full-time housewife; 47.7 percent think it’s possible for them to give up their careers if their husbands can make enough money to support the family; only 37.5 percent of these career women are willing to work through to the age of retirement.

Haidian is a district of high-level economic and cultural development. The result of the investigation, 62.5 percent career women prefer to be full-time housewives, disappoints people working with the Federation. They realize that quite a lot of women have been working for the purpose of supporting their families, instead of “improving themselves and raising their social status.” “When a woman gives up her social responsibilities and duties, she also gives up her rights and dignity. There will be no more equality between man and woman,” some people hold.

Experts: More Full-time Housewives Means Social Progress

He Liying, an expert with the Beijing Association of Family and Marriage Researchers, has a different point of view. She said a recent investigation done by her association shows the lower a woman’s income and educational level, the more she worries about her position in the family and society if she becomes a full-time housewife. On the contrary, those who have higher income and more education do not believe their “going home” will affect their position in the family. In other words, women in the latter group value housework, believing taking care of their husbands and raising children are also an important contribution to society.

Yang Yiyong, a human resources expert and deputy secretary-general of the China Labor Studies Society, said that statistics show the value created by American housewives occupies 28 percent of the nation’s GDP. Only when the society fully recognizes the value of housework, can housewives’ social status be truly raised. Many countries, such as Japan and Holland, have laws to protect the housewives’ rights. In his point of view, equality between men and women doesn’t mean women should do whatever men do, as there will be clearer work division. Man can also stay home to be a househusband, though for most men, it’s not a suitable job.

Yang believes along with the social progress, people will have more choices for their spare time. The phenomenon that career women are willing to become full-time housewives shows today there is more room for women to choose between their families and careers. It is absolutely a sign of social progress. At the same time, it shows these women’s marriages are stable, which is a factor of social stability.

(china.org.cn by Wu Nanlan January 22, 2003)

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