A Chinese woman has been granted compensation for all the housework she did during her marriage in a landmark case. The ruling has since sparked a huge debate about the value of domestic work.
Ms. Wang is a Chinese woman that was awarded 50,000 yuan for the five years of unpaid labor she had done for her ex-husband Mr. Chen. This ruling came into effect in light of China’s new civil code that became admissible only this year.
The new law rules that a spouse is entitled to seek compensation in a divorce if he or she bears more responsibility in child-raising, taking care of elderly relatives, or assists their partners in their work.
The judge presiding over the case said that the division of the couple’s joint property usually entails splitting tangible property. However, housework constitutes intangible property value, and thus he ruled in favor of Ms. Wang.
Mr. Chen had filed for divorce from his wife after five years of marriage. However, he didn’t expect his ex-wife to respond with a request for financial compensation, having argued that Chen hadn’t taken on any childcare responsibility for their child, and he didn’t contribute to any housework.
The case sparked a fierce debate over domestic labor. It was heard at Beijing’s Fangshan District Court, and Chen was ordered to pay monthly alimony of 2000 yuan and a one-off payment of 50,000 yuan for the housework.
Although this might seem like a good news story, it opened up a debate about the worth of housework. Many users complained that 50,000 yuan for five years of work isn’t very much at all, and they believe the work of a housewife is still underestimated.