Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 November 25 - December 1  > Support to women amid pandemic urgently needed
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2020 November 25 - December 1 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Support to women amid pandemic urgently needed

December 1, 2020
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

A surge in COVID-19 cases is hitting many women hard. The deteriorating job situation is epitomizing women's difficulties. The number of workers, especially female workers, sharply declined in April. According to the Cabinet Office, jobs for women decreased by 740,000, more than double the job decrease of 320,000 for men. The drop in non-regular employment has been prominent because many non-regular jobs in the tourism, hotel, and restaurant industries where the workforce is mostly women disappeared due to the pandemic.

The number of suicides has been increasing as well. A Labor Ministry survey shows that 852 women committed suicide in October, up 80% on a year-on-year basis. The percentage of increase in female suicides dramatically exceeded that in male suicides (up about 20%). The number of suicides committed by women in their 40s doubled from the previous year. That by women in 30s increased by more than 90%.

The Tokyo Medical Association states that the main causes for the increase in female suicides are: the voluntary stay-home situation; the loss of face-to-face communication with others; and an increase in the number of hours that husbands and children stay at home due to telework and temporary school closures in addition to the existing hardships of life amidst economic insecurity. Many women now bear a greater burden of housework and homecare than before and cannot have the time and place to relax, feeling mentally trapped.

In Japan, it is seen as normal that women do the housework, childrearing, and nursing care for their aged parents or children with disabilities. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating this situation. Also, stay-at-home tendencies are leading to an increase in cases of domestic violence. The number of DV consultation cases in May and June was 1.6 times larger than that in the same months of last year. It is necessary to improve counselling services and establish more women's shelters. Both the central and local governments should paly a role in changing the current reality of Japanese society which imposed strain and anguish on many women.

The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in Spring highlighted that measures to eliminate gender inequality will produce good results for not only women but also for all members of society. The government of Japan led by Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide should take this advice seriously and take concrete measures immediately.

Past related article:
> Number of women suicides increases amid COVID-19 [October 22, 2020]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved