chinese women spend almost fours a day on unpaid work

A court in china has ordered a man to pay his ex-wife money equivalent to US $7,700 as compensation for housework that she did during their five-year marriage.

The ruling comes after a new marriage law that went into effect in China in January, which includes a clause stating that the spouse who spends more time raising the children and doing housework in a marriage is entitled to ask for compensation for that labor in a divorce.

According to Insider, the couple married in 2015 but started living separately in 2018, with their son living with the woman who was identified as Wang before the man, Chen filed for divorce in 2020.

In reaction to the divorce request, Wang reportedly told the Beijing court that she wanted extra compensation for housework and childcare duties done during their five years of marriage because Chen did not participate in any other household affairs besides going to work.

In granting the divorce, the court gave the woman custody of the couple’s son and ordered Chen to pay alimony of about $300 per month and one-time payment of about $7,700 for the housework.

The case which has sparked a debate on social media in China is believed to be the first to set a monetary value on housework since the civil code – which covers personal rights and family and contract law – came into force.

Previously, spouses going through divorce could only request such compensation if a prenuptial agreement had been signed. 

According to the findings by Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),  Chinese women spend nearly four hours doing unpaid labour daily — 2.5 times that of men and higher than the average which makes them more likely to take on a disproportionate amount of unpaid labor. 

The past decades, number of divorce cases have been increasing sharply in china and the country has put in place a number of measures to curb this.

In 2017, some divorce registration offices across China started requiring couples to take a “marriage and family exam” before they were granted a divorce.

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