Japanese Women Choose Single Life

More and more women in Japan are choosing to remain single, rather than be financially dependent on a man, according to an Inter Press Service article. This finding was true even among women who wanted children.

In 1994, the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry reported approximately 37,500 single mothers in Japan. Women’s groups in Japan surveyed younger women about their motives for staying single. Many of the women cited career development and independence.

Saito Chiyo, editor for a magazine that covers working women’s and human rights issues, said “More women are shunning marriage because for many, it would be like retiring to be a full-time homemaker whose life centers around her children and husband.” Sociologists theorize that Japanese women are shunning marriage to avoid the financial dependence and low status accorded to wives.

Japanese women are paid less than men, and the income tax system benefits families with wives who do not work or have low-paying jobs. Chiyo said, “Japan has a long way to go before genuine equality between the sexes is achieved.”


IPS - April 8, 1998

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