September 28, 2011 07:27
It may appear that the higher the income of middle-class Korean men, the more they shun household chores, but a survey shows that the opposite is true. The findings indicate that although Korean men are still rather chauvinistic in their attitudes, the growing number of double-income families has prompted more middle-class men to help out at home.
The poll by Macromill Korea of 901 households found that 69.9 percent of male respondents who said their earnings are W2-3 million (US$1=W1,200) a month agreed in principle with splitting household chores. As income levels rose, more men were against splitting household chores equally, and only 59.9 percent of men with monthly incomes over W6 million supported it.
Lee Ki-young, a professor at Seoul National University said, "The more men make at work, the more value they tend to place on work over the home, so it is natural that they view household chores negatively."
But when asked if they split household work in practice, only 17.4 percent of respondents earning W2 million or less a month said yes, while the proportion is 24.6 percent for those making W4-6 million.
Satisfaction among women whose husbands shouldered some household chores was 39.4 percent among those in the W6 million-or-above income bracket, which was the highest, but only 30.6 percent for women in families with earnings of W2-3 million.
What is going on? Yoo Gye-sook, a professor at Kyunghee University said, the reason is probably that in many families in the higher-income brackets, both partners work. In double-income families, husbands face more pressure to share housework, but at the same time higher incomes tend to lead to more conservative social attitudes, and the result is a kind of hypocrisy. "In middle-income families, it has a huge impact on finances if the wife gives up her job, which is why husbands in those households have to help out even if they don't want to," Yoo said.
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