You mean to tell me you felt it was easier to leave Japan with a two-year-old son to do an MBA at Stanford because you couldn't access child care in Japan?! .....
The lack of child care was at one point an intentional policy choicemade by the nearly all-male political, bureaucratic and business elitebased on the belief that keeping women at home would support traditional values, improve family life and spur women to produce more children, such as to reverse the declining birth rate.
Hang on... this is clearly a terrible scenario and one that shouldn't exist, but let's not ignore the fact that there is a very delicate debate to be had about this regardless of the hyperbole.
There is a genuine discussion to be had as to whether it is in a child's best interests to be raised at home by a parent or at a depository by employed staff.
For my own part, I actually believe that a child benefits enormously from being in a lively and noisy social environment rather than cooped up at home with one SAHP... but I know there are lots of people who wouldn't agree with me, and many of those are fully committed parents and not part of the 'patriarchy'.
jennyvstheworld - just to respond to your comment "I actually believe that a child benefits enormously from being in a lively and noisy social environment rather than cooped up at home with one SAHP"
As a SAHP, I agree with you. This is why my children are not cooped up at home, but visit friends and relatives, go to the park, take part in a children's music group, all places where there are other children to socialise with. Do many SAHP just spend all day cooped up at home? All the ones I know are out and about doing things, even if it's just visiting each other so their children can play together.
oooh, my friend just sent me this article. THe Japanese government consists of a bunch of grey-headed men and I'm just LMAO that Japanese women have opted out of society, and are going through a silent revolution, so to speak. The Japanese are not the street-marching type. The only women I know here with lots of kids are foreign women married to Japanese men, and that's because they have their own job and their own money, and their husband pulls his weight. Japanese women are looking at their mothers and thinking "no way am I suffering like that"
YOu reap what you sow! Makes me that the only reason this discussion is being brought up in Japan at all is because the birth rate is so low, not because women are human beings who deserve better....
what I meant was, I do think that western women, due to being part of a different feminist history, are more entitled about their rights. Japanese women still very much buy into the belief foisted upon them that you have to choose a career or motherhood. And they're choosing careers, basically.
sakura - I spoke to a Japanese woman who lives in Europe and she told me that the sort of attitude you describe is gradually changing as Japanese society becomes more and more influenced by the West, or perhaps through sheer necessity as fewer women are willing to fit into the traditional role. Do you think that's true? Or is she overly optimistic?
jenny - yes, it can be hard work, but worth the effort, because if I didn't get out and about, then I would go mad! Definitely not good for the children then! (Especially as one of mine is disabled and needs me to keep on the ball!)