Towards individualising couple finance: Women's housing assets and household decisions in Japan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Individualisation, which is increasingly promoted in European welfare states, tends to be absent from policy discourse as well as housing studies in Japan. It is largely because the ‘family as a unit’ is still a dominant approach in their household finance, social security and taxation systems, which also reflects women’s lack of home ownership. However, recent demographic trends such as falling marriage rates, low fertility and increased female labour participation indicate significant diversification in women’s life-course. Thus, today women making their own financial investment and house purchase have increasingly become popular practice. In this context, a new approach beyond the conventional ‘family as a unit’ may be required in the development of a new social contract. Drawing on data from qualitative research conducted among women in their 30s, this article explores the relationship between financial independence, household decisions and asset holding of partnered women in Japan, which reveals contested dimensions of women’s independence and autonomy in household and family life. Through the lens of home ownership, it considers the importance of promoting individual assets in order to foster gender equality in marriage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Early online date20 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Home ownership
  • individualisation
  • household decisions
  • social policy
  • Japan


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