Effects of Wives' Relative Resources on Husbands' Gender Role Attitudes Among Dual-Earner Families

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Room: 511
Mari NAKAGAWA , Dept. of Language and Culture, Caritas Junior College, YOKOHAMA, Japan
This study examines how in Japan, husbands’ gender role attitudes among dual-earner couples with children are associated with their wives’ relative resources, namely, income, employment status, and educational levels. Japanese men have more traditional gender ideologies compared with their American counterparts. However, gender ideologies among Japanese men are becoming non-traditional. Previous studies reported the threat hypothesis, in which husbands among dual-earner couples insist traditional gender role attitudes when wives’ economic contributions to the family income exceed theirs. This paper reports the result of a questionnaire survey conducted in February 2011 on 342 dual-earner Japanese husbands who had children less than 12 years of age.

Two results are obtained through path analysis. First, when wives’ educational levels or managerial posts are higher, wives’ incomes will be higher. The wives’ higher incomes are then associated with the husbands’ more egalitarian gender role attitudes. However, the wives’ educational levels or managerial posts are not directly associated with the husbands’ gender role attitudes. Japanese husbands may tend to hold egalitarian gender ideologies when they hold lower breadwinner roles, and their wives have a higher economic status. In this regard, the threat hypothesis is not supported, whereas the benefit hypothesis is supported. In addition, the husbands may not care about their wives’ social positions, in terms of educational levels and managerial posts. Therefore, Japanese husbands’ gender role attitudes concern their wives’ provider roles within the family, but not with their wives’ social roles in public. Second, it is speculated that the smaller the difference between husbands’ incomes and their wives’ incomes, the lower the level of husbands’ tendency to adopt traditional gender role attitudes.