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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 15:26, July 21, 2006
Full-time househusband challenges China's traditional family dynamics
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In a traditional Chinese family, women are expected to do the housekeeping and leave the 'other business' to men. However, the emergence of the full-time "househusband" is changing traditional family dynamics.

A survey in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen shows that 22 percent, 73 percent, 34 percent and 32 percent of white-collar male workers, aged between 28 and 33, would be prepared to do the housekeeping if the conditions were right.

"Dear, time to have supper," calls Yang Wenhui. Yang is a full-time househusband who cooks delicious dishes to enjoy with his wife when she gets home from work every day. Yang said, "I feel satisfied when I see her gobble up the dishes."

Yang, 32 years old, worked at the office of a periodical prior to quitting the workforce. "My job was flat and steady; I was not promoted. My wife, in contrast, really likes her job. So, after our baby was born, I chose to stay at home and take care of the family while my wife works full-time outside the home," said Yang.

Sociologists have found the full-time househusband emerges in three main situations.

Firstly, if the wife is ambitious, well-paid and has good job prospects, while her husband is paid poorly and has no job prospects, it makes economic sense for the female to become the main income earner for the household. Secondly, if the wife is tired of household chores and eager to work outside the home, her husband may forfeit his job for her sake. Thirdly, if the husband can do his work at home, he may take this option as it allows him more time to take care of the family.

People have changed their ideas about what makes a good father in recent years. Many of the young men surveyed believe a successful man will make a good father.

Mary, a businesswoman, said, "In my circle of friends, many families have full-time househusbands and live very happily." However, Wang Yuan, a pressman, thinks men should remain the family breadwinner although he understands the reasons behind the new division of work.

Influenced by traditional ideas, some families with full-time househusbands prefer others not to know about their arrangement, concerned people would laugh at a husband with "no prospects" or wife who is "too strong".

Zhou Wei said he has become accustomed to being a full-time househusband although his relatives doubted this when they gathered during the holidays. "A happy life is the most important thing, not other peoples' opinions," added Zhou.

By People's Daily Online


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