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Practicable Gender-Equal Society

a policy assessment based on time-use data

TANAKA Sigeto (tsigeto(AT)nik.sal.tohoku.ac.jp)

Kikan Kakei Keizai Kenkyuu (Japanese Journal of Research on Household Economics), 60: pp. 48-56 (2003).
ISSN 0914-4609.

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Offprint of the published paper (in Japanese) is available through direct correspondence with the author.


The current Japanese gender-equal policy aims for an equal share of paid and unpaid work between women and men through reducing both childcare and paid working hours. This paper criticizes the practicability of the policy. First, a logical analysis of an official document (1996) demonstrates the tacit assumption that all men are full-time workers. Under this assumption, the normal working hours applied to all men, as well as the normal standard of housework in the society, limit the domain of possible time allocation between women and men. Second, numerical simulations of gender equalization under the current policy are done with the data for the average amount of time spent on paid and unpaid work by women and men aged 30-39 surveyed in 2000 by the NHK Broadcasting and Culture Research Institute. The results show that gender-equal time allocation never realizes under the current policy. Finally, the author suggests four modifications to the policy:
  1. reduction of housework as well as childcare,
  2. shorter working hours than the current goal,
  3. keeping the total amount of time spent on work and housework,
  4. and promotion of men's family-centered career.

This paper is a revised version of "Practicable gender-equal societies", a paper presented at Kansai Suuri Syakaigaku Kenkyuukai (2000-07-15, Faculty of Human Sciences, Osaka University).

Tohoku Univ. / Arts and Letters / Applied Japanese Linguistics / Tanaka Sigeto
Copyright (c) 2003, 2004 TANAKA Sigeto.
E-mail tsigeto(AT)nik.sal.tohoku.ac.jp

Created: 2003-08-29. Updated: 2004-09-28.