21 Oct Gender Equality in Japan Cannot Yet be Realized in 2020. What is The Cause of This Big Problem?
Gender equality in Japan, one of the developed countries in the Asian region with a per capita income in 2020 of 40,165,158 USD still cannot be realized. This country is very advanced in various fields such as technology, education, economy, etc. due to the principle of hard work that is firmly held and respects time. However, who would have thought that this one developed country was also lagging behind. One of them is in the field of gender equality in everyday life.
In the 2020 World Economic Forum report, the country that earned the nickname “The Land of Rising Sun” is ranked 121 out of 153 countries in the global gender equality ranking. This ranking is even worse than the previous rank, where they were ranked 101 out of 153 countries when Shinzo Abe, the ex prime minister, took office in 2012.
Even when the new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, took office, gender equality in the country still not resolved. The Japanese government is not just standing still in the face of this problem. During the reign of Shinzo Abe, policies were also launched and implemented to place more women in the workforce to anticipate Japan’s rapidly aging population. Likewise in the reign of Yoshihide Suga, who adopted a new plan to deal with this problem.
However, this has not yet been resolved. So what are the reasons and factors that cause this problem? Before we go into the discussion, let’s look at a brief information about Japan, gender equality, and the policies carried out by the Japanese government.
Japan (Nippon or Niho) officially Nipponkoku or known as Nihonkoku, is an island nation in East Asia. It is located at the western end of the Pacific Ocean, east of the Sea of Japan, and is adjacent to the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, and Russia. The northernmost islands are in the Sea of Okhotsk, and the southernmost region is a group of small islands in the East China Sea, to the south of Okinawa, which is neighboring Taiwan (Republic of China).
This country consists of 6,852 islands which make it an archipelago state and has 125.8 million inhabitants. The main islands from north to south are Hokkaido, Honshu (largest island), Shikoku, and Kyushu. As a developed country, this country has the second largest gross domestic product after the United States, and is in the top three in the balance of shopping ability.
Japan is also a member of the United Nations, G8, OECD, and APEC. Japan has an adequate military strength complete with modern defense systems such as AEGIS and a large fleet of destroyers. In foreign trade, they are ranked as the 4th largest exporting country and the 6th largest importing country in the world. Its residents also have a high standard of living and the highest life expectancy in the world according to UN estimates. In the field of technology, Japan is a developed country in the fields of telecommunications, machinery, and robotics.
Gender equality is the equality of conditions for men and women to obtain opportunities and their rights as human beings, to be able to play a role and participate in political, legal, economic, socio-cultural, education and national defense and security activities as well as equality in enjoying development results. The realization of gender equality is marked by the absence of discrimination between women and men, and thus they have access, the opportunity to participate, control over development and obtain equal and fair benefits from development.
Policies carried out by the Japanese government
Is the objective that women’s economic improvement will increase the economy as a whole. Womenomics can also define as a theory that advocates a relationship between the growth of society and the improvement of women in that society. This policy has been announced in Shinzo Abe administration as one of the top priorities because he recognizes that the woman participation in the economy and politics is relatively small in Japan compared to other developed countries.
The new five-year gender equality plan
This plan was drawn up and approved by the cabinet of new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga. Where the government hopes to place and provide “space” to women in Japan at least 30 percent of leadership positions for at least the next five years. The target of placing women in 50 percent of leadership positions is expected to be realized by the 2030s.
The cause behind the gender inequality is traditional gender roles
The main factor triggering this gender inequality is the traditional gender roles that still persist and are inherent in Japan society, where access for men and women is limited in various fields. For example, husbands have an obligation to work for a very long time and devote their lives to the company, while wives are required to do housework, such as taking care of children, cooking, taking care of the family, etc.
Some of the things above, proved to be true. Based on the latest national-scale survey conducted in 2020, it shows that mothers or wives still do 3.6 times more housework than fathers or husbands.
Even women’s access to become leaders is severely restricted in this country. This can be seen from the number of women who become legislators less than 10 percent of the total members of parliament. About 40 percent of local parliaments are known to have only one female legislator or none at all. Even the latest Prime Minister’s Cabinet, Yoshihide Suga, has only two female ministers out of a total of 20 ministers.
Because of this view as well as bias in hiring in some companies and a work culture that is resistant to change, many women stop working after having children. The situation also forces many women to choose part-time jobs or work contracts that do not give them the opportunity to get promotions. In fact, many women choose not to marry and have children in order to continue to pursue their careers.
This also eventually resulted in a high demographic crisis where the death rate was higher than the birth rate in Japan. The marriage rate in the country is also low due to concerns from men who cannot support their families solely by relying on salaries from devoting themselves to the company.
Okay, that is the reason behind why this country is still lagging in terms of gender equality. The government should take quick steps to resolve it and work together with the community to eliminate this such mindset. So that there is no longer a gender gap between women and men in every way, life can be more better in the future, and the demographic crisis can be solved.