Majority of public backs concept of working moms for first time: survey


For the first time, a government survey says that a majority of the public favors women continuing to work after giving birth.

The positive result of the survey on women’s participation in society is the first since the survey began in 1992.

Those approving the idea accounted for 54.2 percent of the total.

“Various policy measures helping women to work, carried out to promote active roles for the gender in society, have borne fruit,” a Cabinet Office official said.

Supporters accounted for nearly 60 percent of all age groups in the survey except those between 18 and 29 and those 70 or older, which saw support for working moms reach 40 to 50 percent.

The survey said 54.3 percent were against the notion that husbands should work outside the home and their wives should do housework, up 4.9 points from the previous survey in 2014.

It was the first time since 2009 that people opposed to the traditional notion exceeded half the total. The ratio of those who do back the idea fell 4.0 points to 40.6 percent.

The survey also asked for the first time whether the respondents intend to continue using their original surnames after getting married. In Japan, married couples are required to use the same family names, and the husband’s is often chosen.

The proportion of people who do not want to use their premarital surnames stood at 62.1 percent, far exceeding the 31.1 percent who are willing to do so.

By gender, 39.5 percent of male respondents said they want to use their premarital family names, compared with 23.9 percent of females who said so.

Asked whether Japan has a gender-equal society, 74.2 percent said males receive preferential treatment, a stark contrast to the 3.0 percent who think the opposite.

The nationwide survey involved 5,000 people over 18 years old and was conducted from Aug. 25 to Sept. 11. Valid responses were received from 61.2 percent of the participants.