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Gender gaps deeply ingrained in Japanese society: U.N. official

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I recently discovered that the 遺族年金 system (basically small government life insurance for if your partner does so you can support your family) is higher if the man dies than if the woman dies. It doesn’t matter if the woman was earning and the man was looking after the kids: the government support received from the death of a wife is less than that for the death of a husband.

Was pretty gobsmacked to be honest. All this talk of womenonics and the system is still set up this way. In the past it seems that if the woman died the man got zero though so I suppose it has improved... a bit.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

In fact I just read up on it and it’s worse than that even.

https://ma-bank.net/blog/1029/

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Age gender and nationality discrimination is a real issue in Japan. I can still remember job postings for men in blue, and women pink

I see some changes, like women in construction and truck drivers but, its slow

The author is right, its their loss if they dont change.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Gender gaps deeply ingrained in Japanese society: U.N. official

Who would have thought?  After all is has been the norm for hundreds if not thousands of years.  Kudos to the UN for brining it to our attention.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Time for a matriarchy.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Womenomics is a total joke. The problem is, Abe doesn't really care about equality - he cares about using women as workers to solve a crisis on that front, and as mothers to solve the population-crisis, plus appeasing his conservative voters. That way nothing will truly change for regular women.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It's good they're talking about, but what do women in Japan think? There is a lot evidence that the more empowered women become, the more they go into traditionally 'feminine' occupations https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/

Of course, it is blindingly obvious women are overtly discriminated against in Japan, but we need to hear more from the average woman directly what they really want themselves as well. Many of my females students, and colleagues', will openly say they want to get married and have kids and no they don't want to work so gender equality means nothing to them (they also seem to only enroll at a university to get in close proximity to eligible bachelors at a 'good' company). Nobody talks about people who think like that, but should we try and make them think otherwise?

They may be like the white women who voted for Trump in that they work to prevent equality. Don't forget it was a female minister who was openly against allowing both spouses to keep their surnames too (I'm pretty sure she's not a feminist). I even saw a poll of elementary school kids and the top job was for the girls was something like 'chef' or related to food service - does it really look that fun to them, or does what the men have to do look worse?

I also found it very enlightening that Japanese women are actually happier than men overall - the book that was published in has good reviews across the board as well: https://www.press.umich.edu/10028271/beyond_the_gender_gap_in_japan

It seems like it's much more complicated than just enforcing equality (equal pay for equal work should be the minimum anyway though)

9 ( +13 / -4 )

If I could do it all over again I would wait to marry a female doctor or lawyer and be a stay at home husband raising our kids and massaging her feet every night. I am so tired of working.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

@Wobot

I think you have some points, and I think it underlines how the entire labour-market in Japan has gone awry. Women reject work because they know they'll end up in dead-end careers, serving tea and make photocopies (although I know it's a bit cliche), while at the same time keeping up the home front. As it is now there are just more incentives to be a housewife with maybe a part-time job. Few people really want to work like a salaryman, probably also explains why women are happier. So yes, we have to question what women want, but also why they want it - is it personal desire or the most available lifestyle in the current society? I would also recommend anyone the book you've linked, it's a very informative read and talks about some of the points I've raised here.

I also think Abe has purposely selected conservative women for his government so he can look like he's working for equality while maintaining the status quo.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@TheLongTermer

I see some changes, like women in construction and truck drivers but, its slow

I am with. One company that seems to way ahead of the curve in Japan is Yamato Transport. A large percentage of their drivers and delivery people are now women.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

One of the biggest drawbacks to Japan changing is the attitude of its women.

I see my mom and many women teaching their daughters to be this way and also raising their sons to be patriarchal as well!

If the women here don’t change and want more, the men probably won’t give it to them.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The last thing Japan needs is advice from the UN.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Nakamitsu, the highest-ranking Japanese at the United Nations

With all the things going on in the world right now, it's quite disappointing to see where "the highest-ranking Japanese at the United Nations" has her priorities.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Gender gaps deeply ingrained in Japanese society: U.N. official

... so ?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It's going to change. It is changing. But it will take time. You can't blame just the "oyaji's", as thepersoniamnow says this situation is being continued by women as well as men. If the media set an example, it would go a long way to fixing it because, as far as "terebi" is concerned, Japanese people redefine gullible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As it is now there are just more incentives to be a housewife

I wouldn't say incentives so much as disincentives, but even if there was equality of opportunity would much change? I say this because...

we have to question what women want, but also why they want it

Oh, I agree most definitely. When I have asked my students though they seem to think it's their natural right, this is the kind of women who as I said do not want equality too. To them it's actually a great deal as it is though and I don't blame them. I've heard of 2 year olds declare they want to be a mummy, most likely because theirs looks like they have a very nice lifestyle in comparison to daddy, who may only see them one day a week and doesn't look exactly happy himself.

But then...

I also think Abe has purposely selected conservative women for his government so he can look like he's working for equality while maintaining the status quo.

The sad thing is not that 'conservative women' exist, but that they are not considered and included when trying to create equality. There are many awful women unfortunately, just as there are awful men. This means...

One of the biggest drawbacks to Japan changing is the attitude of its women.

and don't forget that men are referred to as sodai gomi too as if they are only there to generate income. A lot of women expect the man to do all the earning and won't have it any other way. I bet that it is actually quite possible that more men are in favour of equality than women seeing things like this...

https://japantoday.com/category/national/1-in-3-japanese-women-want-to-be-housewives-poll

The survey found more men wanted their wives to work than their wives did! Who's going to be a bigger champion of equality? Rational men are going to want their wives to earn a fair wage, but housewives (like the white American women who voted for Trump) are going to want men paid more to prevent competition.

This is avoided though because it distracts from the narrative that all women are perfect angels (which funnily enough is actually a hypocritical sexist ideology). The beliefs of both men and women need to be considered when trying to create equality because it won't work if only one group is on board (which ironically might consist of more men than women as I said before).

Of course, I can try and actually influence this as an instructor at a university (and no I don't teach English, I teach applied anthropology) but I tell you the most difficult group to work with are the female students who want to be housewives and aren't interested in actual change...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I find that most Japanese women are happy with this fact, some may not be , but I find that the majority SEEM to accept it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Gender gaps remain significant in Japan as traditional roles for men and women are strongly reinforced in the society and through mass media, leaving many women accustomed to restrictive norms and limited opportunities, according to a senior U.N. official.

Just wanted to point out that gender gaps only exist between the two genders. Thanks!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd suggest proper, active form of interventions such as quotas in employment and education, at the bottom, entry levels. A bottom-up solution may be less controversial, though it takes a while to make real outcomes.

I also hope that leadership positions will also emerge more diverse, but things would better come naturally, based on merit and qualification, through sound selection and competition processes.

In Japan, gender equality initiatives often fail especially in politics when male bosses try to look good or understanding by picking a woman among many other male candidates, on the ground that nothing else but she's a woman. And it's quite often the case she ends up facing (unfair, legs-pulling down) criticism and stands down at the end, worse, without any support by her boss. Such "failure" can reinforce the prejudice that women are naturally unfit to top exec positions.

Better stop 客寄せパンダ or hiring a panda or trophy (woman!) only to attract media/public attention, or in order to make an excuse on gender equality. It's a self-inflicting vicious circle. At best, it is only a makeshift solution.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was talking to a colleague just yesterday about this. She's a part time worker - works for 3 hours a day, and then she goes and picks up her kids from school, does all the chores, and cooks food for her family. She hates it. She hates it so much. Her husband criticises any little mistake she makes because he says 'you don't have to work, why are you messing up this simple thing?' I said to her 'but housewife is a job too - and a difficult one at that' and she said agreed with me. She said she wished she could go back to her old job, long hours and all, because at least she got rewarded with money for all of her work. Being a housewife (in general, but especially here) is an exhausting, thankless job.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sweden is one of the top countries when it comes to gender equality, so she is "lucky" to be married to a Swede.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find that most Japanese women are happy with this fact, some may not be , but I find that the majority SEEM to accept it

Ive observed that also. In Japan, everyone sees to have a role or position, even the wife. If she does not work, she will manage the finances and school activities. The alternative, which many of them have done before marriage, is sitting at a shima style seating arrangement with a terrible tantosha sitting at the end, and enduring crushing hell all day. Taking orders from a sempai and other clown roles. Or working/drinking as a hostess all night. Most prefer to just chill at home, have love affairs if the husband is a tyrant and gossip. After kids its a sexless marriage anyhow for allot. Just being real, but thats Japanese way? might explain the low child birth rate also.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Toasted Heretic Today  04:58 pm JST

Time for a matriarchy.

If a picture on the wall is slightly crooked to the right, you don't fix it by making it crooked to the left.

You fix it by making it even.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hahaha, that UNofficial doesn't represent UN.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Among most employers in Japan, it's a given that single young women live with their parents with limited expenses, and once married, will quit to become lifelong housewives. Therefore, they get paid peanuts.

When my Japanese wife got basically the exact same job here in the US as she had in Japan (lower-level in medical field), she was paid 4 times as much as in Japan. FOUR TIMES. And that was when she started, it's gone up significantly now.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Gender gaps deeply ingrained in Japanese society".

True to the earth and heaven. Men and women are created differently, never the same.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

As a japanese

It may be a foreigner not a Japanese that changes Japan

I get tired of Japan to see most with eyes of the prejudice

many outdatedness

Non-generosity

Qualified voter of the vested interest of the stubbornness

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Been here almost 30yrs now, reading above posts I would say WOBOTs posts  above has NAILED it BIG TIME!!!

Bottom line is Japanese ladies are not stupid most rightfully so DO NOT want to become SALARYMEN, as a guy working in Japan neither would I!!! YOU would have to be a IDIOT to want to!!!

Japan sadly is on a doomsday course it can  likely NOT get off of.... future does NOT bod well for men or women here, it is insanely GRIM for ALL!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Time for a matriarchy.

I hear you speaking loudly and clearly in the distinct accent of a eunuch.

Seriously, time for equality. Not reverse discrimination.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Jonorth

Few people really want to work like a salaryman, probably also explains why women are happier.

Exactly. Little girls grow up watching the dynamics of their parents - their dads work long hours, are never home, and are always tired, while their moms spend their days doing fun activities with their friends, going to cafes, and spending time with their children. Until Japanese society and businesses start to make work-life balances a priority, I don't blame women for opting out of that rat race in favor of a more comfortable life style.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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