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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 April 7 - 13  > 75th anniversary of Japanese women's suffrage
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2021 April 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

75th anniversary of Japanese women's suffrage

April 10, 2021

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

On April 10, 1946, Japanese women for the first time used their right to vote in the first postwar House of Representatives election. The ratio of female candidates to the total was 2.9%. All 39 female candidates won in the election, accounting for 8.4% of Lower House seats.

It has been 75 years since this historic vote, and women's ratio in both Diet chambers remains still at less than 20%. It is necessary for Japan to make up for this long-standing delay in women's participation in politics.

Prewar Japan, based on the "rich country with a strong army" policy along with the patriarchy system fully established in the Meiji period, plunged headlong into its war of aggression. Japanese women at that time could not exercise their rights, and their individual personalities were denied. The idea of "domination of men over women" was thoroughly planted into people's minds in those days.

After the end of WWII, Japanese women obtained many rights including political rights. However, forces with origins in the prewar era occupied the political nucleus. Taking a "big economy" policy centering on large corporations, they maintained a discriminative structure against women in jobs, wages, and career promotions. They placed little importance on care work in which women play a major role regardless of whether compensation is received. On the other hand, they forced men to work like "corporate warriors".

The suffrage is a right equally guaranteed to all Japanese citizens. To exercise this right can be a powerful influence on the direction of politics. The general election will take place this year. Each person should use this right in order to dispel the stigma of gender inequality in Japan and to realize policies in which people's individual dignity can be protected. Let us make the upcoming general election a trigger to unlock the future of true gender equality.

Past related article:
> Japan ranks 120th in Gender Gap Index 2021 [April 1, 2021]
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