In a recent divorce cake, a Chinese court has ruled that a wife should get about 50,000 Chinese yuan ($7,700) from her husband in compensation for five years of housework. The ruling has sparked many debates online who are questioning whether the amount is a fair price. That’s about $128 a month, or a little more than $1,500 a year. In Chinese currency terms, the payout is about 10,000 yuan a year.
China said in 2019 that its poorest earned an average of 9,808 yuan per person a year 2019. That figure is up from 3,416 yuan in 2015. In this particular case, the court ordered a man to compensate his wife for all the household work that she did during their span of marriage.
The ruling is being considered a landmark feat in the history of the world.
The woman will be receiving 50,000 yuan ($7,700; £5,460) for five years of unpaid labor.
The debate that follows questions the fair value of domestic labor while some say that the compensation is amount is too little and unjust. The ruling came right after China’s introduction of a new civil code.
According to court records, the man identified by his surname Chen had filed for divorce last year from his wife, surnamed Wang, after getting married in 2015.
The woman was reluctant at first to divorce but later, she requested financial compensation arguing that Chen had not shouldered any housework or childcare responsibilities for their son.
Beijing’s Fangshan District Court ruled in the woman’s favor and ordered her estranged husband to pay monthly alimony of 2,000 yuan, as well as the one-off payment of 50,000 yuan for the housework she has done.
The presiding judge told reporters on Monday that the division of a couple’s joint property after marriage usually entails splitting tangible property. The judge also added that the household constitutes an intangible property value.
The ruling was made according to the new civil code in the country, which came into effect this year. Under the new law, a spouse is entitled to seek compensation in a divorce if he or she bears more responsibility in child-raising, caring for elderly relatives, and assisting partners in their work.
The case sparked heated debate, with a related hashtag on microblogging platform Weibo viewed more than 570 million times.
Some people also said that men should shoulder household duties at all times. There are various inspirational posts across the internet urging women to become independent.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Chinese women spend nearly four hours a day on unpaid work – roughly 2.5 times that of men.
This amount is a lot higher than the average in OECD countries where women have been spending twice the amount of time as men on unpaid labor.
The event marked an important confluence in history, especially with undertones of feminism.