Japan Press Weekly

Providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan
HOME  > 2014 July 9 - 15
Prev Search Next

2014 July 9 - 15 TOP3 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Japanese society still maintains sexist ideology

July 14, 2014
Recent cases of jeering by male members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and even in the National Diet at female colleagues have made it clear that the Japanese society is still maintaining sexist ideology.

At a Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly meeting last month, when a female assembly member asked about measures to increase the birthrate, a Liberal Democratic Party assemblyman jeered at her by saying, “Get married!” In April at a Diet committee meeting, during a question about a policy on the declining birthrate by a female parliamentarian, an LDP Deitman shouted, “You should have a baby!”

Inoue Shin of a union for individual workers in the government sector pointed out that as these jeerers associated fertility measures with very personal issues of marriage and childbirth, their remarks violate women’s human rights. The government’s third basic plan for gender equality, which was approved by the Cabinet in 2010, in principle regarded the reproductive rights of women to freely decide the number, spacing, and the timing of their children as women’s fundamental rights.

Inoue angrily said, “With continuous government policies to increase the use of contingent workers, many of those working as low-paid, non-regular workers can’t afford to get married and have children. Lawmakers making the remarks which infringe on women’s human rights have created this society.”

Lawyer of the Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom Yuyama Kaoru said, “The legislators’ remarks in question revealed their sexist nature. On the other hand, this problem also uncovered the fact that Japanese society is still failing to pay full respect to women.”

The 2011 survey on time use and leisure activities conducted by the Internal Affairs Ministry showed that male workers spent an average of 536 minutes a day for work-related activities and female workers used 360 minutes a day. In the same survey, the average number of hours that female workers everyday spent in household activities, such as child care and nursing care, stood at 530 minutes, while that of male workers was 358 minutes.

Yuyama said that these survey results indicated that women bear the brunt of family responsibilities. This is a typical example proving that Japanese society falls far short of achieving gender equality guaranteed by Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution.

The lawyer criticized the LDP draft constitution which was published in June 2006 and calls for a revision of Article 24 from the point of view of placing importance on the value of family and community. She said, “The LDP’s image of family is the pre-war family system which denied women’s rights and forced women to stay in the house.”

Yuyama stressed the importance of establishing a gender equal society where people are free from traditional gender roles.

Past related articles:
> Political parties except JCP overlook sexist jeering issue [June 26, 2014]
> LDP sexist assemblyman pledged to ‘respect’ women’s rights [June 24, 2014]
> Cross-party Tokyo assemblywomen protest against sexist jeering [June 20&21, 2014]
Prev Next
Mobile  PC 
Copyright (C) Japan Press Service Co.,Ltd. All right reserved