Are there any men who do housework and help with childcare?

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my late 20s. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about marriage and childbirth, as more of my friends get married. I want to build a family and have children, but the uncertainty of marriage bothers me.

My parents both worked as full-time company employees. My mother also bore the burden of housework and childcare, while my father did little to help. There seem to be many similar cases among people at my workplace. When I see my superiors work overtime simply because they don’t want to take care of their children after they get home, I feel even more concerned about getting married.

I want to continue working even if I get married and have children, and I don’t want to make compromises with my career. My ideal partner would be a man who is actively involved in housework and childcare, but I have never met such a guy.

Is it difficult to get men to evenly split such tasks? Do women have to be prepared to shoulder more of the burden?

— B, Tokyo

Dear Ms. B:

Sharing housework and childcare and cooperating with your spouse are essential elements in maintaining a good family life. You said you don’t want to compromise on your career, so these points are a matter of course.

However, in the real world, initiatives aimed at realizing equality between men and women are far from perfect. I apologize for this; our generation is to blame for the current situation.

However, there are exceptions. For example, I have a friend whose husband stood up to his company so he could go home without working overtime, and he took care of the household chores, including cooking, for 20 years. Depending on the company and the mindset of the couple in question, it’s possible to realize this kind of family life.

Don’t give up from the start, and don’t compromise. It’s not easy to change the whole of society immediately, but you can do your best to find a good partner. I hope you’ll find someone who’ll listen to you and take your arguments seriously. Hopefully, you and your future husband will gradually be able to build an equitable relationship.

If you think it’s unlikely that you’ll find such a person in Japan, then why not try searching for someone overseas? You don’t have to limit yourself to finding a partner or job in this country.

Broaden your horizons toward the path you want to take.

— Tomomi Fujiwara, writer