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Poll Finds City Women Happy

Ninety percent of local women are satisfied with their marriages - and if they are not married, they are happy with their family life, according to a 10-month, citywide survey carried by the Shanghai Women's Federation that was completed last month.

The study, part of a nationwide poll, also found more than 70 percent of Shanghai women are satisfied with their material and spiritual lives.

The poll is based on responses from 2,352 residents, ranging in age from 18 to 64. Fifty-three percent were female; 47 percent male.

"According to the survey, women perceive that their social status has improved greatly compared to 11 years ago," said Lu Jianmin, the study's chief researcher.

The local women's federation first conducted a study on marriage and family in 1990.

The latest local survey revealed that 79.9 percent of women feel they can select their mate on their own, while taking into consideration their parents' opinion. That's 18.4 percentage points higher than what the All-China Women's Federation found in its nationwide study.

The finding suggests a break in the old practice of arranged marriages.

The latest study also found that 85.1 percent said that family matters were jointly decided by husband and wife or primarily by the wife, an increase of 11.4 percentage points from 1990.

"In our family, things such as what kind of TV set to buy and where to travel are mainly decided by my mother," said Zhang Xiaoli, a middle school student.

Lu said the study reveals that equality of the sexes is widely accepted by both men and women.

Nearly 86 percent of the women said they have confidence in their work-related skills; 76.1 percent of them said career advancement is important to their feeling of self-esteem, up 16.1 percentage points from 10 years ago. Eighty-seven percent of women and 76.6 percent of men agreed that the husband should do half of the housework.

"It's unfair for women to shoulder most of the housework since women also work just as hard as men," said Chen Min, a 34-year-old woman who's an executive at a joint venture.

But while men and women agreed that housework should be shared equally, the local study also found that women still did most of the housework. The wife did 75 percent of daily chores, such as cooking and washing clothes. Women averaged 3.5 hours per day on housework, 1.9 hours more than men.

(eastday.com 10/08/2001)

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