A recent survey indicated that in a surprisingly high 40 percent of families with a stay at home parent, it was the men who took care of the children, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences revealed.
The survey covered 742 Shanghai families in which the mother or the father was a full-time parent. The break down stood at 57.5 to 42.5 percent in favor of mothers staying at home full-time.
The high percentage fathers wrong-footed even experts in the field.
"Most full-time mothers disappeared after 1949 when women were encouraged to go out and work. But now, they have not only returned in strength but have encouraged fathers to follow suit, indicating the diversity of family life," said Bao Leiping who led the survey.
The survey also indicated that economic factors weighed heavily on which parent would stay at home.
Among the house-husbands, over 65 percent selected to do so due to being unemployed or having been laid-off.
The surveyed full-time mothers sang a different tune, saying they sought to improve their children's education or could afford to live their husband's salary.
Zhang, a former court official, moved to Shanghai where his wife works and is now pursuing a PhD. "Now that I have more leisure time, I should do more for the family, including taking care of our child. I will surely work again in the future," Zhang said.
(Shanghai Daily April 16, 2007)