April 24, 2021 08:32
The number of house husbands alongside their working wives is on the rise. According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, 195,000 men among the economically inactive population identified as house husbands in March, up 20 percent on-year.
That suggests they did not embrace their new role joyously but were forced into it by unemployment due to the coronavirus epidemic, though others are happy to let their wives earn the big bucks.
One 54-year-old man in the administrative city of Sejong became a stay-at-home dad after closing down his pizza restaurant in February last year. He makes breakfast for his wife, a government employee, and prepares snacks and refreshments for his daughter in fifth grade and helps her with her homework. He also washes dishes and clothes, and cleans the house.
"I didn't try to find a job and became a house husband because my wife has a good stable job," he said.
"The notion that housekeeping is a woman's job has changed," said Prof. Lee Byoung-hoon of Chungang University. "There's often a rational agreement between young married couples that whoever earns more keeps their job while the other looks after the kids."
But the environment for house husbands is still unfavorable and some are embarrassed to be seen in their role.
One 37-year-old man who raises two kids aged three and five said, "Whenever I go to the kindergarten without my wife, I'm concerned that other moms might think I'm a single parent."
Baek In-woo, a 33-year-old man who has been a house husband for two years, said, "I worry that I'll find it difficult to go back to work later because that's often a problem for women when they take a career break."
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