After 17 years of growing support for gender equality in Japan, there was a dramatic reversal in a survey released yesterday.
The share of Japanese who thought wives should stay at home jumped 10.3 percentage points to 51.6 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.
The biggest shift occured among youth, as 55.7 percent of men in their twenties said wives should stay home, up 21.4 points from the last survey. The percentage among women in the same age bracket rose 15.9 points to 43.7 percent.
The shift appears to be related to the weak economy.
Prof. Kakuko Miyata of Meiji Gakuin University tells Yomiuri: "I suspect young people today are deeply concerned about their futures because of prolonged difficulty in finding jobs and the sluggish economy, so they may wish for the home to be a source of emotional support."
BI contributor Wolf Richter draws a similar conclusion:
Young people have grown up with this scenario, see it every day, know there is no longer a good exit from the debacle. It’s too late. The pile of debt is too big. Promises about job security and retirement are illusory. They work longer hours for less pay than their predecessors, don’t have enough money to move out from home, and consume practically everything they make.
What's most alarming this trend is how it could spread around the world.
Whether or not America is turning into Japan, it and all developed countries face structural employment crises and years of low growth. This is certainly an environment in which feminism could recede (or conversely in which men will get the short end of the stick).
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