Japan and the Gender Gap


The visibility of gender parity in the world has risen and in Japan in last decades. Even though, Japan is rank in 105 out of 136 countries, according to the Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2013. Despite of being one of the biggest economies in world, Japan has the worst levels of gender equality in the develop countries, as the World Economic Forum reported. Also, in the same report, the percentage of female lawmaker is one of the worst of any other nation, although Japan had a slight improvement in areas like women’s pay. [2]

In the fields like education and health, the country has reached a more favourable place, however in terms of political empowerment and economic, Japan are significantly behind. The average of the economic status of a Japanese’s women are very below compare to other develop countries.

In Japan’s first election after the war, women voted and stood for office, was for the first time on April, 10, 1946, and it was the first election in the country which the government included women, of the 79 female candidates, 39 were elected to Japan’s national parliament. Nevertheless, the country is rank 157th of 191, regarding women’s political participation, according to the International Parliamentary Union. Since the second World War, only 25 women have served in the government Cabinet, in 2015, 22 percent of ministerial position, had women in Japan.[4][5]

Regarding female employment rate, the percentage of women working is the 63.6 percent, compared with around 95 percent for men. Although, around 43.9 percent of the women leaves their work after childbirth, which demonstrated how difficult for women, in Japan, to conciliate their professional lifes with the domestic work. For that reason, Japanese women have found very hard to combined the work with their personal lifes, and therefore this has contributed to the low birth rates in the country, which have been around 1.3 to1.4 children per women since the year of 1995. [6]

In the 1995 United Nations World Conference for Women, the gender gap became a main point of policy priority, and since then the gender policy in Japan has had much progress. With the election of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2000s, the influence of feminism on gender policy has grown.

In this way, part of the Shinzo Abe’s projects to understand and diminish the gender gap in Japanese society, was the Investigating the Status of Radical Sex Education and Gender Free Education, which caused a lot of controversy in the country, due the fact the project had the objective to attack what they called ‘traditional’ cultural values. When he was re-elected in 2012, Abe started a more progressive image on gender issues under the slogan of ‘womenomics’. In his international legitimacy behind this new concept, Abe’s expressed at the United Nations, “I have been working to change Japan’s domestic structures”, he announced. “However, this is not confined merely to domestic matters … this is also a thread guiding Japan’s diplomacy.”[7]



Japanese Women on Gender Gap in Japan (Interview)


2 comentários sobre “Japan and the Gender Gap

  1. Really informative blog with various information . Its really sad to know that Japan as now being one of superpower of the world is still suffering from gender disparity . This clearly signifies that gender disparity is just not a problem of third world . A country with all massive economic development being ranked 105 out of 135 in gender gap was really shocking and disappointing news .


  2. It’s interesting how women have stopped having as many children because it’s too hard to balance work and family life for them, so they choose their careers. I think it’s great that women have this option but I wonder what that means for the population growth of Japan. This video of interviews makes it seem as though women in Japan interpret the gender gap mostly in terms of economics (and the political statistics make sense too), specifically in terms of women’s duties and pay in the work force. I hope the women of Japan will have the opportunity to start fighting harder for themselves.


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