Childcare Still Women's Work in Most Korean Households

      February 12, 2016 08:23

      More Korean men are spending time on domestic chores, a survey suggests. The number of men who lend a hand with housework and some childcare duties increased significantly in 2015 from five years earlier, according to the survey conducted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

      The ministry has conducted the survey every five years since 2005 and the latest covered some 5,018 households across the country. Respondents were asked to provide details about several household chores such as preparing meals, dishwashing, laundry and cleaning.

      For all chores except ironing, more men responded that they spend more time on housework than they did five years ago. This can be seen as a social change brought about by a steady rise in the number of double-income families, as well as a greater awareness of gender equality.

      The proportion of men helping to prepare meals rose to 38.5 percent in 2015 from 22.2 percent in 2010, while 45 percent claimed to help with washing the dishes, up from 29 percent.

      "These days, fathers seem to be good at preparing meals and bathing children -- partly due to the popularity of cooking shows and programs featuring child-rearing on TV. It has become natural for young dads in their 20s and 30s to do housework," said Kim Young-ran at the Korean Women's Development Institute.

      But while more husbands are lending a helping hand overall, childcare is still viewed as women's work in the vast majority of households.

      The majority of male respondents said their wives mostly take care of feeding the children (73.3 percent), helping with their homework (73.1 percent), preparing school materials (82.6 percent) and finding childcare facilities (77.5 percent), although they provide some help in playing with their kids, bathing them and taking them to a hospital when they are sick. 

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