Inequality between Men and Women on Unpaid Work

by Megumi Shishido

The society is supported by the work of people. According to “United Nations, The second half of the year of Female 10 years,” women occupy 50% of adults’ population of the world, one third of the world’s public works and two thirds of whole works in the world, but women receive only one tenth of world’s income and have 1% or less of world’s property. Women are often engaged in unpaid work; house work, childcare, nursing care, volunteer and so on. These works aren’t paid money. Also women can’t work like men because women often have to work while they do house work and their paid works aren’t estimated as same as male paid works.

Sex roles are received in Japan yet. However, when we look back at human history, such cooperation is a very recent thing. In a hunter-gatherer society, men went to hunt and women gathered fruits, nuts and rhizomes and so on to keep their living. In an agricultural society, men and women did agricultural productions as business partners. In these societies, male and female works were estimated equally. The development of industrialization changed the cooperation to sex roles that men work in the outside of house and women work in the inside of house. So women must depend on men financial. According to “United Nations, The World’s Women 2000: Trends and Statics,” generally women spend more 50%~70% times than men do, but in Japan and Korea women spend doing unpaid work seven times as long as men do. And the world’s economy is a depression, so both men and women work outside the house to keep family living. Women became to work outside the house, but men didn’t become to do unpaid works. We will be able to say at least in Japan the tendency was strong. Women became to a double burden that women must be coexist with household and work.

Therefore, women should participate in paid work more and men should participate in unpaid work more. For the realization, the most important thing is preparing female environment for work. Nursery schools for leaving children without anxiety and care homes for looking after parents should be set up. Especially at husbands’ place of work it should become easier to take childcare leave. Like this, companies should prepare environment for work and consider each employee’s family conditions. Also the idea of sex roles should be changed among people, especially among older people. Some of older people have the idea that women must work inside the house yet.

In Japan, we have the problems of gender and sex roles. As stated above, most of these problems are about female treatment. However, if women participate paid work more, next male treatment may be regarded as a problem.


Kiyoko Kinjo. “Gender Law, 2nd ed.” Yu-kakusya, 2007.

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