"WANTED: Female to cook, clean, wash my socks, bear and raise my children, and generally enable my workaholism—all while maintaining your own career in a sexist environment." Sound good? Given the choice, many Japanese women are saying to heck with marriage and staying single, reports the Washington Post, which is all well and good for Sarah Jessica Parker, but the nation's birthrate has plummeted to alarming levels.
The issue has become so dire that, faced with a looming workforce shortage that could wreak economic havoc, Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda is dirtying his hands with work-life balance solutions—pushing companies to send overworked men home at night to improve family life, and the nation's birthrate. In a nation where just .5% of men take parental leave, while only 33% of women keep working after having kids, "The burden falls almost exclusively on women," says one professor.