In a landmark ruling, a divorce court in Beijing, China has directed a man to give compensation to his wife against the housework she did during their marriage.
The country ordered the man to play 50,000 yuan ($7,700) against the housework she had done without pay for a period of five years.
A huge debate over the valuation of domestic work has been trigged online by this case as some said that the amount of remuneration was very small compared to work done.
A new civil code was introduced in China recently.
According to reports, a case for divorce from his wife was filed by the man, identified by his surname Chen, in court last year. The surname of the wife is Wang and they had got married in 2015, according to court records.
The wife was unwilling for a divorce initially but demanded financial compensation later as she argued that the husband had not done any housework or fulfilled his childcare responsibilities for their son.
While passing the order in favour of the wife, Beijing’s Fangshan District Court ordered the husband to pay 2,000 yuan as monthly alimony to the wife in addition to a one-off payment of 50,000 yuan as compensation for the housework that she had done while they were married.
The dividing of the joint property of the couple acquired after marriage typically involves dividing of tangible property, the presiding judge told reporters on Monday.
“But housework constitutes intangible property value,” said the judge.
The new civil code in the country, which came into force earlier this year, formed the basis of the ruling of the court. The new law gives the right to a spouse in a divorce litigation to demand compensation in the eventuality of the man or the woman shouldering more responsibility for child raising, caring for elderly relatives, and helping their partners in their work.
Prior to this new law, a man or a woman seeking divorce could also seek such compensation if there was a prenuptial agreement between then which is not a common practice in China.
A heated debate was sparked by the case on social media with the hashtags on the microblogging platform Weibo viewed more than 570 million times.
50,000 yuan for five years’ of work was too little, some social media users pointed out.
“I’m a bit speechless, the work of a full-time housewife is being underestimated. In Beijing, hiring a nanny for a year costs more than 50,000 yuan,” said one commenter.
There were others who contended that more responsibility for housework should be shouldered by men.
Others urged women to continues with their careers after getting married. “Ladies, remember to always be independent. Don’t give up work after marriage, give yourself your own way out,” wrote one social media user.
Almost four hours a day on unpaid work is spend by Chinese women which is 2.5 times that of men, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And that is higher than what is done by women in OECD countries where women spend twice the amount of time in housework or unpaid work than men.
(Adapted from BBC.com)