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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 October 22 - 28  > Decent work rules are key to gender-friendly society
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2014 October 22 - 28 [LABOR]

Decent work rules are key to gender-friendly society

October 24, 2014
Decent work rules are the key to a gender-friendly society, states Wako University Professor Takenobu Mieko. She teaches labor sociology, media studies, and gender studies. Akahata interviewed her regarding her views on the Abe government’s call for more women to work outside.

The following is a summary of the interview published in Akahata on October 24:

The social structure pressing men to make money outside and women to do most of the housework including childcare and nursing-care has long discouraged women from working outside.

Many female workers find difficulty in coping with working long hours and doing all the housework and childcare. These women often give up continuing their full-time jobs. As a result, more than half of female workers have to endure being part-timers or temps whose status is unstable and also vulnerable to arbitrary dismissal. On top of that, their wages are much lower than that of full-time workers.

Compared to other industrialized countries, the government of Japan provides extremely little financial support for childcare, nursing-care, and education.

Some European countries, for example, have made efforts to reduce the number of working hours and improve social welfare programs in order to help lessen the women’s burden of household duties. Such efforts have contributed to women’s work-life balance.

The Abe government, however, intends to do the opposite. It seeks to remove legal restrictions on working hours and revise labor legislation adversely.

A shortage of childcare workers is a barrier to solving the issues of children on waiting lists for admission to daycare centers. The administration is trying to cover this shortage with housewife volunteers, instead of improving the poor working conditions of qualified staff who have to bear heavy workloads with low salaries.

Only a small number of women can afford to pay for homemaker services. So, the important thing is for the relevant authorities to eliminate the source of problems that have prevented women from playing important roles outside so that both men and women can equally share the housework and can work decently, which will eventually bring about a society in which women can also enjoy career advancement.

As long as the structural problems exist, many women may think that they cannot get a job or a higher position due to a perceived lack of ability and things will be left as a matter of individual self-responsibility.
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