Chinese Women In Charge of Home Spending

Women in China have the overwhelming say in their family expenditure, no matter whether or not they earn more than their husbands, according to a new survey.

In urban families where the wives earned a higher income, 86 percent of families said women took control of the domestic finances, deciding the family’s monthly budget, what the money was spent on and when it was bought. The percentage turned out to be even higher – nearly 90 percent – in families where husbands were better paid.

Men earned more than women in about 69 percent of Chinese families, according to the survey.

Carried out by, the 2007 urban Chinese women and family consumption behavior study asked 547 women in nine major Chinese cities about their role in family expenditure.

The survey reported nearly 88 percent of Shanghai families set a budget for their monthly expenditure, the second highest in the country after Chengdu of Sichuan Province.

Yang Yu, a analyst, said it was a traditional Chinese practice for women to have the right of daily expenditure in hand.

“There is an old Chinese saying that a family will thrive if it has a smart housewife,” Yang said. “That indicates women were born to be more shrewd and dominant in managing household consumption.”

Tradition also explained why wives would take care of all small expenditures in many Chinese families, analysts said.

“It’s up to my husband to make final decisions on large family consumption issues, such as buying a house or buying a car,” said Han Xiaorong, mother of a three-year-old boy.

But the survey found modern women were beginning to change tradition by having more input into purchasing big items.

The survey found 24 percent of women legally owned their families’ real estate properties, and more than one-fifth also owned cars.

“As the family financial controller shoulders more responsibilities, women should also keep updating their financial management knowledge,” Yang said.

Via China Daily