Ampersand

Wives at Home

By B. Deutsch

This article is from the March/April 2008 issue of Dollars & Sense: The Magazine of Economic Justice available at http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0308toon.html


issue 275 cover

This article is from the March/April 2008 issue of Dollars & Sense magazine.

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This cartoon is from the March/April 2008 issue of Dollars & Sense: The Magazine of Economic Justice available at http://www.dollarsandsense.org

Ampersand cartoon on wives at home


The Short Run

Divorce, Japanese-Style

By Amy Gluckman

Women who came of age 20 or 30 years ago in the United States may be forgiven our surprise that the whole work-home-motherhood thing continues to be so fraught. Surely by now, many thought, women would not be sweating it—at least no more than men do. Wrong! The media can take some of the credit, for, among other things, continuing to play up the alleged mommy wars between "working" and "stay-at-home" moms. At a more basic level, many people (well, men) still seem to think homemaking and raising kids is basically a "Ten-Year Nap"—the (tongue-in-cheek, we hope) title of a current bestselling novel on the subject.

In Japan, it appears that men are on a rapid learning curve about the worth of homemaking and parenting. One year ago, a new law took effect that dramatically raised the share of her ex-husband's pension a divorcee is entitled to, the Washington Post reports. Suddenly, divorce filings are up sharply and will keep rising, according to Japanese marriage counselors, as "wives—hearts gone cold after decades of marital neglect—are using calculators to ponder pension tables, the new law and the big D." In response, at least some men are suddenly paying attention; the Post describes one husband who, "in addition to learning how to listen and talk to a wife he had ignored for two decades...has learned how to take out the trash, clean the house and cook."

Amy Gluckman is co-editor of Dollars & Sense.

Barry Deutsch is a cartoonist living in Portland, Ore. An original "Ampersand" cartoon appears in every issue of D&S. See more of his work at amptoons.com.

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