In Japan, gender inequality is a problem that has persisted for a very long time. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) Report 2021, which measures the gap between men and women in political representation, economic empowerment, education, and health, ranked 120 out of 156 countries. This indicates that it has a long way to go before closing the gender gap. Because of this, Japan is at the very bottom of the ladder when compared to other developed countries.
China, South Korea, and Singapore placed 107, 102, and 54, whereas the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK ranked 30, 24, 50, and 23. Japan’s position hasn’t increased over time, unlike other countries.
The low rating that Japan received on the GGI is attributable to the fact that women have roles in the workforce with low status and that women are underrepresented in politics. Even though 77% of Japanese women are currently participating in the labor force, which is a higher percentage than the OECD average of 66%, more than half of them are working in irregular occupations. In comparison, a smaller proportion of working men (less than a third) is employed in non-regular positions. The term “non-regular” labor refers to jobs that are temporary, part-time, or casual in nature and provide little to no job stability, few benefits, poor income, and low levels of status.
Although female ochakumi are disappearing from businesses, largely for economic rather than social reasons, the assumption that women should pour tea or serve drinks persists. Women pour alcoholic drinks for male co-workers at after-work parties and dinners.
After-work social activities often feature sexual harassment like touching and sexist statements. The difference between how men behave at work and after work shows that discarding damaging societal preconceptions and abolishing sexist behaviors may take longer.
Does Japan have many female candidates? Given the obstacles, it’s hardly surprising that many women are turned off by politics. Sexual harassment and assault are challenges for working women. Legislative councils and parliaments must be attractive workplaces for women.
All workplaces should eliminate sexual harassment. In 2021, the Gender Parity Law was changed to ban political sexual harassment. Given the law’s lack of impact so far, it’s hard to be positive about this revision’s impact.