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A court in China ordered a man to pay his ex-wife R70,000 for her housework and child care

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The case has sparked a wide debate on social media over the value of domestic work.
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  • A man was ordered to compensate his ex-wife for the housework and childcare duties she took on.
  • The case in China's Suzhou city sparked wide debate online over the value of domestic work.
  • Many social media users said the R70,000 compensation was too little for seven years of labour.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A divorce court in China has ordered a man to compensate his ex-wife for all of the housework and childcare duties she took on during their seven-year marriage. 

The man, surnamed Tan, was ordered to pay his ex-wife Wang 30,000 yuan (some R70,000) by a court in Suzhou city last month, per Chinese news outlet Litchi News.

While they were married, Wang was a full-time housewife and the primary carer of their seven-year-old son, per the outlet, while Tan worked outside the home.

"Wang did all the housework including laundry, cooking, childcare, and shopping, so she demanded compensation from him," a law clerk at the courthouse told the outlet. "But Mr. Tan did not recognise the significance of housework — he did not feel like she contributed much in the relationship in financial terms."

The case has sparked a wide debate on social media over the value of domestic work, with many saying the compensation amount was too little. On the Twitter-like platform Weibo, the hashtag "full-time housewife compensated 30,000 for housework" has received more than 230 million views.


"If you hired a nanny, 30,000 yuan wouldn't be enough to cover even one year," a Weibo user commented.

"What I've learned from this is that women really should take better care of themselves. Don't do housework for free. Make the man do some," another person wrote. 

It's not the first time a Chinese court ordered a man to compensate his partner for housework. Last February, a Beijing court ordered a man to pay his ex-wife 50,000 yuan (about R115,000) for five years of unpaid labour, per BBC.

According to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Chinese women spend nearly four hours a day on unpaid work such as routine housework and child care — which is about 2.5 times that of Chinese men. 

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