Japanese Sociological Review
Online ISSN : 1884-2755
Print ISSN : 0021-5414
ISSN-L : 0021-5414
Meaning of Paid Work
An Analysis of Working Couples' Attitudes Toward Joint Responsibility for Income-Earning
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2005 Volume 56 Issue 1 Pages 165-181


Existing literature on dual-earning focuses more on the sharing of household responsibilities and less on the sharing of the provider role. Employment often is not distinguished from providing, and the meaning of work has not been examined in detail. Interviews with husbands and wives of full-time working couples reveal that even among couples where both spouses are continuously employed, wives' commitment to co-providing and husbands' expectations of their wives' commitment vary. Couples with husbands who do not count on their wives to earn income and wives who are not committed to work put priority on husbands' careers and consider it up to the wives to combine work and family. However, among couples that expect to be joint earners, both husbands and wives make adjustments to determine how they work in order to sustain each other's careers. Husbands of such couples are thus constrained but also gain some freedom that the husbands who shoulder the burden of providing singlehandedly do not enjoy. The joint-earner couples, in contradistinction to the more traditional husbands and wives, often seek lifestyles less wedded to the company. The research suggests that in certain sections of the Japanese society, couples are beginning to choose their preferred work and lifestyles.

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