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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 October 27 - November 2  > Female regular workers earn 70% of male workers' wages in Japan
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2021 October 27 - November 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Female regular workers earn 70% of male workers' wages in Japan

October 30, 2021

Akahata 'current' column

In the United States, there is a day called "Equal Pay Day", illustrating the wage gap between women and men. October 21 this year was Latina Equal Pay Day. It takes an average Latina woman to work fulltime for nearly 23 months to earn what an average white man earns in one year.

An average woman in the U.S. earns 82 cents while an average man earns one dollar - 57 cents for a Latina woman. Many Hispanic women work in the care and retail industries, supporting U.S. society. However, they are paid low wages. Even those with college degrees are often discriminated against in obtaining pay raises and promotion in rank. The first to be dismissed due to the COVID-19 pandemic was Latinas.

On this day this year, women in the U.S. held online rallies and Twitter demonstrations to raise their voices for equal pay. More than half a century has passed since the Equal Pay Act came into force in 1963. For the still-continuing pay gap, women are shouting, "We can no longer wait!"

In fact, their call has had influence on policy. The House of Representatives in April approved a "paycheck fairness act" which closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act. In the Senate, Republicans are opposing the bill, but President Joe Biden on October 21 expressed his willingness to support it, saying, "My administration is committed to working to close the gap."

In Japan as well, the difference in average earnings between women and men is a longstanding problem. Wages for female workers in regular positions in Japan are held to 70% of male workers' wages. Of all working women, 56% work non-regular jobs as disposable labor. The gender gap in lifetime wages is almost 100 million yen.

The United Nations issued a recommendation to Japan to strengthen measures to narrow this gap. However, the Japanese government ruled by the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties has been leaving the issue as it is. To realize a gender equal society, it is necessary to oust this government.
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