Young Men and Women Divide on Sharing Housework, Abortion

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 15 2008 12:33 PM

Young men and women are divided on the issues of sharing housework and a woman's right to have an abortion, reveals a new survey of ten countries, including India.

In the study from the University of Adelaide, Australia, young people from 10 countries around the world have shared their views on housework and abortion issues.

Conducted by Professor Chilla Bulbeck in the University's Discipline of Gender, Work and Social Inquiry, the research took into account the attitudes of young men and women to a number of gender equality issues.

They carried out small surveys at high schools and universities in the United States, Canada, Australia, Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Indonesia.

"Apart from Australia and Japan, my samples were small and confined to young, middle-class urbanites. Nevertheless, this study is unusual because it covers so many nations, and the comparisons offer some interesting food for thought," said Professor Bulbeck.

She added: "Overall, the results show that young men and women are divided on the issues of sharing housework and a woman's right to have an abortion. It should come as no surprise that young women are more in favour of domestic democracy than the young men, while also being more supportive of a woman's right to have an abortion.

"It is interesting to note that those in western countries tend to see sharing housework and 'role reversal' as similar ideas, whereas most of those from Asian countries who are also supportive of sharing housework were quite opposed to role reversal. While this might indicate to some people that greater equality exists in the western countries, another interpretation is that it demonstrates the greater commitment to the fathers' bread-winning role in the Asian countries."

She also said that the young men were more interested in having a say on abortion than they were on sharing housework.

"While performing housework and childcare was seen as nothing short of emasculation for many of the young men in my study, this does not prevent them from claiming their rights in relation to abortion decisions," she said.

She added: "The Chinese people surveyed were the most accepting of a woman's right to have an abortion, with both males and females seeing this as her decision. In some cases, the Chinese responses asserted that both parents had responsibilities in relation to the child, but it was the woman's right alone to choose an abortion." (ANI)