The case of a single father of two in China seeking almost $15,000 in compensation from his estranged wife for housework and childcare has sparked a wider discussion about the value of household labor in the country.
The man — identified by the pseudonym Zhang Wei — is from Huizhou of the Guangdong province in southern China and raised his children alone for the past eight years after separating from his wife.
The couple had not filed for divorce until earlier this year despite being separated.
While Zhang was initially awarded 30,000 yuan (approximately $4,444), the single father rejected the amount and requested 100,000 yuan (approximately $14,812) to compensate for the labor put into child rearing alone.
Despite omitting housework and settling for a compensation that solely included childcare, the compromise failed and the court ruled that Zhang be paid a one-off amount of 30,000 yuan from his former wife.
The father of two also agreed to terms that he would be the children’s sole provider after the divorce and would not seek additional funds from the mother.
Many online users took to social media to comment on the ruling, arguing that Zhang was undervalued as a working single parent.
Some commenters wrote that regardless of sex, “those who look after the housework … deserve to get more compensation in any divorce.”
Another responded, “I agree. I even think the original compensation he sought was small. He worked while taking care of two kids!”
While Zhang’s case has garnered widespread attention, most claimants of housework compensation are women.
A new Chinese law came into effect last year that allows people in divorces to seek compensation for time spent doing chores and raising children.
Featured Image via Dragon Pan (representation only)