In southwest China's Sichuan province, the proportion of men planning to have a second child is significantly higher than that of women, according to a recent survey conducted by Chengdu Women's Federation (CWF).
The survey was conducted to better understand women's willingness to have larger families and the possibility for urban population expansion, so that CWF can propose more specific recommendations on policy support systems.
The survey polled 815 people from across the province, and carried out in-depth interviews with a small number of respondents in person. According to the survey, the vast majority of Chengdu citizens have abandoned traditional concepts such as "preferring boys to girls" and "carrying on the family line". Some 65.7 percent of the respondents clearly expressed their support for the two-child policy; 59.2 percent expected to have a son and a daughter; and, 32.4 percent showed no gender preference.
The survey also surprisingly showed that fathers are more inclined to have a second child. Of the respondents, 47.9 percent of men expressed such willingness, while the proportion was only 34 percent for women.
In this regard, CWF explained that women generally spend more time and energy parenting, which has led to their relatively little enthusiasm for childbearing compared to men.
The data collected from those surveyed also testified to the fact that the main caregivers of children before the age of three were basically mothers or grandparents, accounting for 56 percent and 40 percent respectively, whilst only 2.3 percent of fathers shouldered the same responsibility. However, in situations where a father was the primary caregiver, the willingness of having a second child tended to decrease on the part of the father, as compared with the mother.
Survey data show that in the cases where the main caregivers are mothers or grandparents, the "probable" proportion of such willingness is higher, accounting for 40 percent; whilst in the cases where the main caregivers are fathers or nannies, only 20 percent of those surveyed expressed a willingness to have two children.
In response to this, CWF suggests that fertility is the common responsibility of the family, thus men also have rights and obligations to care for young children.
Based on the survey, CWF also observed that only 25.2 percent of respondents had a maternity leave of over 90 days, and nearly half of the fathers have no paid leave for accompanying newborns.
To this end, it is recommended that relevant departments introduce measures to ensure maternity leave for mothers, extend accompanying leave, and encourage fathers to participate in the caring of their young.
In addition, CWF also noticed from the survey that nearly half of the respondents' birth benefits are nonexistent, and there are cases in which employers violate regulations by paying female maternity benefits as low as a minimum wage. This reflects both the lack of understanding of maternity insurance on the part of the general public and the inadequacy of the current policies as provided by the government and relevant institutions. Officials are advised to be further revise policies on maternity insurance and family welfare.
Besides, CWF advises government to improve the maternity insurance system, to join hands with relevant units to strengthen the education of people on maternity insurance regulations and the supervision of maternity allowances.
In order to minimize the impact of child bearing on a women's career, and reconcile the conflict between work and family, CWF advocates the establishment of a diversified childcare system involving the government, enterprises, communities and families, and the promotion of development of family services and the marketization of domestic labor products.
(Source: Fnews.cc/ Translated and edited by Women of China)
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