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Japan must eliminate misogyny in workforce: UNDP chief

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Japan has one of the lowest rates of female workforce participation in the developed world and most economists agree it badly needs to boost the number of working women to grow its economy as the population rapidly ages.

But a lack of childcare facilities, poor career support and deeply entrenched sexism are blamed for keeping women at home, and for one of the lowest birthrates among the developed world as young women see having children as obstacles to their careers.

Helen Clarkks critique of Japans sexism in the workplace is to the point. . . .. ... Unfortunately, it will take a MAJOR OVERHAUL of the system here before we see real change.

11 ( +12 / -2 )

"Japan has one of the lowest rates of female workforce participation in the developed world " A very sad state of affairs for Japan. The glass ceiling for women in Japan is very real.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

ohayo : The glass ceiling for women in Japan is very real.

Yes. Sadly VERY true . . they re still making tea and pouring Sake for male colleagues at dinners. . . .IHOPE Helen Clark is selected as the next Secretary General of the UN . . .She will enlarge the focus . . .

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Do people like Helen Clark ever wonder how Japan has managed to maintain a 4-5% jobless rate after 2 decades of recession, and avoided creating dysfunctional benefits communities like in the UK in the 1980s and modern Spain?

Or people like Helen operate only on preconceived notions?

-9 ( +11 / -19 )

I'd like to hear more specifically what she means by misogyny in the workforce. Its become too easy to throw the "m" word around. I don't disagree with the larger points being made. But it seems more deeply rooted than just a workforce issue or a hatred of woman. "Misogyny" here starts at home, when its instilled into little girls that their highest future goal should be a princess wedding and a child to improperly raise (or, barring a child, a designer puppy).

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a young Japanese woman back in the early 80s. She was telling me about how she was treated at work (usual stuff - tea making, expected to fawn to the guys, etc.). I said it must be terrible to be a woman in Japan. She looked around the train at the sad looking salarymen and said, "Yes, but it's much better than being a man."

25 ( +26 / -2 )

The workforce dynamic is a total mess here. Mysogny, sexism, sexual harassment, power harassment, ridiculous hierarchies based purely on age, the list goes on. Sure, the uninformed may tout "yeah, but that happens in every country", but not to extent it happens here. It's engrained in the culture and I fear it will never change.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Japan must work to remove misogyny in society to remove it in the workplace. Sadly, the old men in charge have no interest in changing the status quo.

5 ( +10 / -6 )

lack of childcare facilities,

This is the number 1 reason, there are like 50 spots for 1000 kids at government run childcare facilities, if you don't get it you have to pay for super expensive private childcare facilities.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This will never happen. It's way too ingrained from elementary school.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It seems Japan is one of the only developed countries that continually receives unwanted, ill-informed and irrelevant comments about its social structure from outsiders who should clean up their own messy countries,,,

-15 ( +8 / -20 )

Japanese women aren't daft enough to spend their every waking hour sitting at a desk in an office pretending to work until their workaholic boss decides to go home.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The misogyny issue is not the only issue holding back Japanese business and economic evolution. The sempai business culture is a far worse handicap and keeping Japanese business a generation behind the rest of the modern world.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

a lack of childcare facilities, poor career support and deeply entrenched sexism are blamed for keeping women at home

These three factors are definitely part of the reason many women opt out of the workforce. Still, from what I have witnessed, an even greater factor is the attitudes of a majority of Japanese women themselves, a majority of whom would prefer freedom from workforce drudgery and the tyranny of the Japanese group mentality if they can find a husband who will foot the bill.

Even though my Japanese wife and I have had access to exceptional childcare and she works in a prestigious international company where sexism is not an issue, she complains bitterly about how good the housewife types have it and badgers me constantly to earn more money so that she can do the same.

From what I have seen, a large majority (not all) of the educated women here will pursue a job in a "good" company while in their 20s and early 30s, partially with the explicit aim of finding a husband with some financial means. After getting married most of them leave their careers (even those with no children) and devote much of their time to self improvement in the form of English conversation/tea ceremony/flower arrangement/etc. hobbies. If they do have children, once the children get older the wives have ample leisure time while their husbands slave away in the office for well more than 40 hours a week to sustain lavish expenditures of the wives -- which explains the large numbers of middle-aged Japanese women you see vacationing in Hawaii.

Given this situation, I think much of the misogyny found in Japan is a result of hard feelings many men have toward the many women who are able to opt out of the workforce and clearly feel entitled to a subsidized lifestyle.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Time for Japan to raise the middle finger to nosy outsiders!

-13 ( +9 / -21 )

I think Japanese working women are scared to be fired if they don't serve tea to male employees. I thought that custom was gone a long time ago but still there. So, Helen gave a proper advice to Japanese corporation culture. Maybe male employees may learn they can make their tea or coffee to their taste? Unemployment rate: the computation include people who wish to work but can not get jobs?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The thought of this woman makes my stomach churn, she turned NZ on its head and destroyed much of it's societal boundries and way of life, many NZers still resent her very much,

The thought of her becoming head of UN is mind numbing, look out world when it gets the top job.

A career politician who never had a real job in her life, never had children and her marriage was for show only.

She is passing judgment on a centuries old culture not on its work ethic, she is for mass immigration too and does not care where the people come from, so watch out japan she will be telling you to open the flood gates and let the 3rd worlders poor over your borders too.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Born more child, work more time. They demands woman too much.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In 1996, Clark guest starred as herself in popular New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. A satirical book, later adapted as a play, titled On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover by Richard Meros was published by Lawrence and Gibson in 2005. Clark has also guest-starred on bro'Town, the New Zealand animated television series.

So she had a real job in her life !

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

an even greater factor is the attitudes of a majority of Japanese women themselves, a majority of whom would prefer freedom from workforce drudgery and the tyranny of the Japanese group mentality if they can find a husband who will foot the bill.

That's one way of looking at it. The other is that they place more worth in being home and raising the children properly, and keeping a well-kept household, than in working at some company to make enough money to pay for child support.

My wife doesn't work, and while I'd be ok with it if she wanted to, I much prefer having her at home taking care of our household. I never have to worry about dirty dishes in the sink or doing laundry, and our children receive full attention from one or both of us whenever they are not in school. That has a lot more value to both my wife and I than the additional money she would make by working.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

In Japan, women workers are hired to do exactly 2 things. One, to make the company less of a sausage party and give the male workers who missed on "osananajimi" girlfriend a second chance at romance. Two ... yeah not really sure.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Personally speaking (this is anecdotal), the women I've worked with in education and health care have been just as capable and less self-centric and therefore more comprehensible than the men in those same fields. Hopefully, Japan can involve the highly-educated, humble, and diligent female workforce it holds, which would help place it back into the highest levels of innovation and economic stability. Really, at this stage, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain for Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

More nonsense from the U.N.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Traditional Japanese methods of forming business relationships involve excessive drinking at izakayas, hostess bars, onsen resorts and golf. A progressive company where women are high in the hierarchy will have a hard time because of that.

I'm afraid the old generation will have to retire first, before positive changes can take place. At the same time, future shachos need to be showed that there are places in the world, where business partnerships are formed based on merit and mutual benefit, and that is gender-independent.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm afraid the old generation will have to retire first, before positive changes can take place.

The old generation never retires in Japan, it just gets filled with the next representatives.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

reckless - Time for Japan to raise the middle finger to nosy outsiders!

Bwahahaha! That's exactly what Japan has been doing for centuries and their political, economical and cultural isolation is the result!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Why is this a male-female issue? Workplaces in Japan basically are not ideal for either. Many of my Japanese friends work well beyond reasonable expectations and still feel they need to "gambaru" more. And a lot of them get brutalized on a regular basis by superiors. Who would "participate" in that scenario if they didn't have to? I believe a few female friends who have said that marriage is a way to avoid having to get to entrenched in the Japanese workforce.

Improve the workplace environment for all, and more women will participate.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

But the old duffers are doing such a great job..... Why allow in youth and fresh ideas from women??

Japan needs this to happen, but it never will.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Others have hinted at in bits & bobs, but as I have been saying for ages Japan needs to re-invent itself BIG TIME!

A whole lot of the work-life balance thing is massively outta wack & has been for decades, needs a whole sale re-working.

Albaleo nailed it above, as it stands women KNOW that working in Japan sucks, its sucks to be a salary man, SO many women plan to get off the working thing soon as possible, hell if I was a J-woman & couldn't get outta Japan I would do the same!

Bottom line is working in Japan SUCKS for BOTH men & women, being gaijin a lot of us can sit on the edges & not have to deal with as much BS as the locals do, I could never stand it otherwise!

Until Japan decides to re-do things nothing with change, ok a few might see the odd day care option but overall the dreariness of Japanese life is draining Japans vitality & looks set to continue!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Workplace in Japan is a pretty miserable place for most junior employees. society in Japan is mysogynist anyway - which translates into workforce.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan must eliminate misogyny in workforce:

Will never happen. The old men who run Japan Inc. will continue to lead the country into a death spiral, rather than admit that the country needs major change.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I find "Japan must eliminate misogyny" not a helpful contribution to the problem of women in the workforce, but "deeply entrenched sexism" further down in the article right on the money. I've been in Japan for decades and don't see much evidence of women hatred, but but plenty of sexual discrimination in the workforce. The most glaring in my view is the age limit on hiring women. A friend of mine, before she quite her job at a particular company, had the job of filtering applications for a job (only women need apply for the particular position) and was told to toss any applications from women over the age of 30. Good luck getting a job if you are a woman and have reached that ripe old age.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

JeffLeeJul. 25, 2014 - 07:51AM JST

Do people like Helen Clark ever wonder how Japan has managed to maintain a 4-5% jobless rate after 2 decades of recession, and avoided creating dysfunctional benefits communities like in the UK in the 1980s and modern Spain?

Actually, Japanese jobless data is not taken and/or extracted the same way like US.

RecklessJul. 25, 2014 - 09:06AM JST

It seems Japan is one of the only developed countries that continually receives unwanted, ill-informed and irrelevant comments about its social structure from outsiders who should clean up their own messy countries,,,

RecklessJul. 25, 2014 - 09:21AM JST

Time for Japan to raise the middle finger to nosy outsiders!

You made me laugh. You wanted a pressure from "outsiders" after the Tohoku and the Fukushima disasters. Still cannot solve the mess. You know you cannot have both ways. Your comment reminds me that you are an isolationist who do not believe in globalization. Sad.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I have worked in Japan for a decade. I have worked with many hundreds of different Japanese people, both male and female, of all ages.

On the whole, the female workers I have worked directly with, have been a LOT better than their male counterparts. The Japanese women just get the damn job done, and do it well. The men seem to exist in a weird twisted limbo of passive aggression, one-up-man-ship, utter ineptitude and unprofessionalism; the pressure on the men to be 'Japanese' is way stronger than on the women to be 'Japanese' and this gets in the way of actually doing the job properly.

The more Japanese women who work and are given authority and responsibility in Japan, the better. Japanese men cause more problems than they fix.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan needs to make the workplace friendlier for women if they want their economy to grow strongly again.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In StormR's defense, I believe that Mrs. Clark wouldn't make a good enough Secretary-general of the UN. Why?

Read this: <keywiki.org/Helen_Clark>

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sounds like major opportunity for majority-female businesses in Japan. Seems like I read in the news about one a long time ago.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The most glaring in my view is the age limit on hiring women.

1)You've got it as nobody are enforcing a labor law in Japan while Japan has a great labor law on the paper, but no actual enforcing.

2)Also I would like to add that there is no clear written job description available for each workers when hiring.

3) There are no written semi or annual job performance evaluations available for promotions, pay raise, hiring, firing in work place. These evaluation records need to be kept by both employer and employees, so that both parties are adhering to the rule and regulation in labor practice.

4)There are no judges to hear the disputed or illegal labor practices in Japan. These judges only hear the labor law related cases.

5)Every break room, cafeteria, lunch room need to post a minimum labor wage, overtime pay, and other guide lines, so that there will be no violators at work place.

Japan needs to reform these issues first for both men and women.

No more "Karooshi", please. No more "sweat shop", please. We do not want to hear that. Thanks.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Who says more women want to enter the workforce?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

WAIT!!! Th saddest part of all is the Japanese women expect to stay at home. The idea is to marry a guy with a good job then quit work. That the glass ceiling for many its expected every JP women that I know who was or is single say once they marry they have to quit their job. I'm like what for, its like as if the husband sends her i to hiding

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

kaimycahlJul. 25, 2014 - 01:21PM JST

WAIT!!! Th saddest part of all is the Japanese women expect to stay at home. The idea is to marry a guy with a good job then quit work

Or most of them understand there is an uphill battle and they have given up. Sounds like you are in denial.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well I agree that many things has to change in Japanese workplace but what the heck does this Helen know? tsk tsk

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@JeffLee if you think the 4-5% unempoyment rate is actually correct then you are fooled. housewives and people who work a few hrs a week part time are counted as employed for the statistics. take those people out of the statistic and Japans unemployment will be much much higher

6 ( +7 / -1 )

.Unemployment rate computation does not include people who look for jobs but can't get job. That is why almost 4% last year in Japan. Helen Clark must have detailed info about Abe's desire to increase women employees in corporations and other data about shortage in Japanese work force. So, she is trying to encourage Japan to be female friendly environment in corporation culture in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Misogyny in the workplace is not only personally demoralizing, it can reduce productivity. Businesses need to enforce the rule that misogynistic (or more broadly, sexist and racist) comments and behavior are not tolerated and bad behavior will be factored into an employee's performance evaluation, and could lead to firing. But that's only the "legislate morality" part of the equation. It is mainly up to the working women themselves to challenge the status quo by standing up to hurtful behavior.

Standing up does not mean women have to be overly strident or "non-feminine," but they do have to develop self-confidence and "inner authority." Push-back can take many creative forms of increasing intensity and organization from laugh it off to (1) have coffee with Mr. M and let him know privately his comments deeply hurt; (2) use humor, sarcasm, charm, or clever repartee in front of colleagues to challenge Mr. M. ;(3) Kill him with kindness in front of his colleagues (an old-fashioned Southern approach); (4) report Mr. M to his superior; (5) band together with other women who have had similar experiences with Mr. M and his ilk; (6) verbally embarrass him in front of his colleagues -- "Okay, I've had it, I'm going to report you to your wife and mother and tell them not to make bento for you any more." (7) organize women's workshop within the company and do role play on how to respond to backward misogynist coworkers." (8) tape tampons all over Mr. M's desk when he's out of the office(just kidding on that one).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@JeffLee

Do people like Helen Clark ever wonder how Japan has managed to maintain a 4-5% jobless rate after 2 decades of recession, and avoided creating dysfunctional benefits communities like in the UK in the 1980s and modern Spain?

From what my missus tells me it's so damn complicated for Japanese people to get jobless benefits that many people just go and take almost any job they can get, or they go hungry.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

July 25, 2014.2:30 .P.M JST" a lack of childcare fascilities, poor career support and entrenched sexism are given as accolunting for the raw deal women workers are getting in Japan as compared with men."< As for the first two factors, they are, more or less, left to the discretion of individual local governments and individual employers. I want to get focussed on "entrenched sexism". This is where the Equal Employment Opportinity Law should come in; discrimination against women in terms of acces to education, career support, promotion, pay raise, welfare and retirement is prohibited. The fact of the matter is the law does not have enough teeth in terms of enforcement and penalty for emplyers' failure to correct the wage system weighted against women. Getting down to the reality invoving working women, I must say there is a wide perception gap between what job-seeking women university students get by way of explanation from prospective emplyers at the job fair and what they find themselves working under once employed. If Mr Abe is serious about getting more out of women to get the economy going full steam, he should legislate a law prohibiting discrimination against women on the job, including a mandatary reqirement that the ration of women in the dicision-making position be raised up to 30 % .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"if you think the 4-5% unempoyment rate is actually correct then you are fooled."

Never mind the stats, I lived in Britain during the early 80s, and I've seen real world evidence of serious joblessness and what it can do to communities. In Japan, I see hardly any of such evidence. Where is Japan's version of "benefits street," eh?

If you think Japan is struggling with a jobless problem, then you're the one who's fooled.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Why is this Clarke giving japan so much attention when she should be going at Israel and palenstine for their societies malfunctions, or how about Russia and the urkraine situation ?

Woman in the work place in Japan draws more attention from her than the UN's misguided social policies in those places >? WTF !

The UN is so misguided its like one of Saddam Husseins old scud missiles, they are so misguided you never know where they will strike.

Because of this woman I am embarrassed to be from NZ.

Pull your head in Helen the wood peckers are coming.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I guess Japanese OYAJI are just too weak and they want to keep Japanese women weak and helpless in society. It has something to do with a self esteem issue here. They want to control women. It is a threat if women become too independent and powerful.

As a matter of fact, this Japanese model is not a healthy. Both men and women need to be independent , interdependent and an equal partner to each other in society.

In the US, professional strong men love and respect strong women. Strong men have a strong self esteem image themselves and there is no need to control issue here. We love and enjoy to maximize the potential of others' success. We want everyone to succeed. We want everyone to excel. We want everyone to pursuit the happiness. We want everyone to be strong.

I think everything is all boiled down to the old Japanese culture that is about to change. Get rid of bad Oyaji and move on for change!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

She used to be a successful female politician. I have no doubt that she has information about Tokyo Assembly man yelled against fellow female Assembly Lady. Anyone who heard about that knows, even politicians, if female, have uncomfortable misogyny in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Usual rubbish from the elite politicians that want everyone a debt slave from cradle to grave. Sometimes i think these morons hate the family unit, hate families being together, hate the mother to child bond. This is all about increasing the amount of workers into the workplace which means more demand for the same amount of jobs. This means salaries fall for the average person as we see in the West and profits increase which are distributed to a few shareholders. Also there will be some nice donations and gifts to the politicians who make this into law.

This is the third wave of feminism, more like the Third Reich, it's a joke and families and especially kids suffer more and more worldwide by this which is terribly sad.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In the US, professional strong men love and respect strong women.

I used to be that way. But now having been in Japan for so many years, I've come to realize that Japanese women can and often are just as strong, but they don't have the same argumentativeness and a chip on their shoulder as so many Western women do. Visiting back home last month, and seeing many of my friends with their wives made me feel bad for them - they spend their lives in terror of their wives anger, and living their lives according to their moods. My one friend literally said to me 'I get about 4-5 days a month of awesomeness. The rest of the time I live on the edge.'

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I kind of agree with FFSteve. I was at my university last Thursday and a Kindi group of 25+ kids with about 15 to 17 mothers were having a blast at the university river basin they use for research. I thought that it was nice that many mothers here have the freedom to spend this early childhood time with their kids. I'm glad Japan is preserving this very important family lifestyle. I don't like how the husbands have to salve so much though, it's just the way things are run here. I don't want to see more women dropping their kids off at daycare, but I would like to see more women run for office and become PM one day.

I wish Japan would just embrace the population decline and plan accordingly, instead of this grow grow grow BS. New Zealand's doing fine.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It does irk me a bit that the UN (and the IMF) are talking about how to draw more Japanese women into the workforce in the framework of stimulating the Japanese economy. Sounds so cold and utilitarian! I don't know anyone (man or woman) who is motivated to go to work for the purpose of raising their country's GDP. I don't fault the UN lady for saying misogyny in the workplace is bad -- that's pretty obvious. But why add the simulate the economy bit? Government and business should just create policies and practices that encourage women to contribute to and grow in the workplace -- and be rewarded for doing so; G&B need to make it possible for women to have an OPTION to stay in the workforce while parenting (i.e. provide quality daycare for families). Japanese couples, like families everywhere should be able to consider their priorities and finances and together decide to be DINKS (double earners no kids), DEWKS (double earners with kids), or single earner with stay-at-home parent (SEWSAHPS???).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It seems Japan is one of the only developed countries that continually receives unwanted, ill-informed and irrelevant comments about its social structure from outsiders who should clean up their own messy countries,,,

Wow, apologists even defending their can -do -no-wrong japan on this issue. Unbelievable!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I am all for equality in the workplace but why is it that the U.N or the IMF always talk about drawing more females in the workplace ( do they want more work slaves so they can get more $$$), instead of talking about having a good family plan or something? Some women do not want to work. Some men too.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

**That's one way of looking at it. The other is that they place more worth in being home and raising the children properly, and keeping a well-kept household, than in working at some company to make enough money to pay for child support.

My wife doesn't work, and while I'd be ok with it if she wanted to, I much prefer having her at home taking care of our household. I never have to worry about dirty dishes in the sink or doing laundry, and our children receive full attention from one or both of us whenever they are not in school. That has a lot more value to both my wife and I than the additional money she would make by working.**

See, I would agree with you if I saw SAHM mothers here raising their kids properly, keeping a well kelp household... What I see are mothers and kids waiting in the morning for the kindy bus and kids being trucked off to questionable kindies where the goal is for them to make as much money as possible while providng the cheapest quality. EVERY child in my neighbourhood over the age of four goes to kindy. How do SAHM moms then get to claim they are home "for the kids"? The houses I have been in here for the most part are death traps due to the clutter. I would 100% support your comments if I actually felt they were true but I just don't see it. Jr goes to kindy then gets shoved into piano, eikaiwa, karate, swimming... I don't really see the moms doing too much. I see them paying other people to look after their kid and then wonder why working mothers get such scorn heaped on them when they too are paying folks to look after their kid.

It's great that you can afford to look after your family and she can stay home but so many families can't do that these days and yet, many women refuse to get it through their heads that the princess life they think they are entitled to is just not going to happen.

I feel for the men of this country because the expectations on them and their income is shocking. Yes, Japan is sexist and hard for women but the worst offenders I see with regards to gender line drawn and set are the women. I feel very sorry for Japanese women who want to have a career AND a family because it is more the women here that inflict judgement and crap on them. Tea ladied only exist because some women are more than happy to take that job and perform that task - all while hoping to catch a salaryman who will marry them and be their ATM. These women then get bitter when they don't get that and pour scorn on other women who refuse to follow the same. Things will only get better for the men AND women here when the women sort it out and stop being sexist themselves.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@tmarie

You don't see what these women do as you are in full time employment and they can't see what you do during the day, for all they know you lounge around all day doing as little as possible.

As usual you blame the Japanese women for not wanting out of life what you want. This is nit the West and your values are not the norm in Japan. Japan is a fairer and more peaceful country than the West, let;'s not have this destroyed by copying the West and destroying the family unit. As i stated before this is all about creating debt slaves, compare the debt versus savings in the West in Japan. Look at the facts people and it becomes obvious.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I just spent the day with my SAHM friend who moaned about how bored she is and how she dislikes the busybody neighbourhood "kyoiku mamas".

You work FT so could I not turn around say YOU don't know what these women are up to?

The life I want is neither here nor there. The life that many Japanese women want is the issue and clearly the late marrying age and lack of kids being born here is an indication that many J women are not happy doning and apron and cooking your dinner.

Fairer and more peaceful? Tell that to the single mom living in poverty (50% poverty rate), tell that to the single working woman between the ages of 2-65 (33% poverty rate), the kids (16% poverty rate) and the dead high school student who off'd herself due to bullying.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How do SAHM moms then get to claim they are home "for the kids"?

Kindy, the kid comes home around 2. Elementary school, the kid comes home anywhere between 1 and 5, depending on the day of the week, the season and the age of the kid. Companies expect their FT workers to be at their desks until 5 or 7, then there's the commute home. If you want to be home when the kids come home, then well, you have to be at home.

I had the best of both worlds in being able to work from home, meaning I had an income, was able to contribute my bit to society, and be home for the kids. If I had to choose only one of those three benefits, it would be the last one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cleo, not in my area. The bus pulls up between 3:30 and 4:00. Ele kids in my area are not home at 1:00. 3:30 or 4:00 at the earliest unless they are on that stupid hald day schedule they do at the beginning and end of term. That could easily be changed if the parents demanded it. Many FT worker are indeed at their desks those hours because they are the sole income earner so don't have much of a choice. I however, don't have those hours - flex time in becoming more common, so is working for home. There are options and oppotunities out there for many who decide not to do the drone route.

Many ele kids don't come home until much later - club, juku and all that jazz. My point with it all is, life doesn't have to be this way but often is because many decide that yep, that is how it must be and refuse to change - nor respect those that don't do as they do. I think being home "for the kids" is great but I don't see that here and that's why I roll my eyes at it. I think you did well to have what you did and think more could have it - IF they wanted it. You made it happen, many more could but I don't think many actually want it to change. This however hurts those that do because there seems to be very little give and take towards those who don't shut up and fall in line and do like the Wadas.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@tmarie

Whenever questioned this way you always come out with a recent personal experience to prove your point, i am dubious of this and a single example is meaningless.

There are no food banks in Japan, there are not CCTV's everywhere. There is barley any street robberies or violent crime. Japan is a great place for men and women, Japanese and foreign. As long as you are honest and prepared to do your best you will generally be fine.Nowhere is perfect but Japan is better than the West as long as you can remove your Western prejudices.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

But yet your life and your personal experience should be respected and taken into account? You can't have it both ways. I have zero doubts that there are many mothers who there at home for the kids and don't use kindy and whatnot. I just don't see it where I am but that doesn't mean it isn't out there. Just as it doesn't mean that everyone lives the life you do.

No, you're right. There aren't food banks everywhere. Women go to city hall and ask for food there because they supply some to those in need. That or they move back home and hope their families will take care of them. Japan is not a great place for women and I have given you stats to support that. Indeed no where is perfect - I have never sugggested any place is - but take your blinders off. Your wife is very lucky to have the life that she has. Many other women however, suffer because of sexism and the constant "Japan is safe and fair" crap that many claim. You're doing women a huge disservice to ignore the growning problem of child poverty and women living in poverty here by sugggesting otherwise. Ask yourself what kind of life your wife would have if she hadn't met and married you.

You can go on about my "western" prejudices but have you not stopped to think about the Japanese women who don't want the life your wife has or is not in a position to have it? You seem to blame western women for everything but fail to understand that many Japanese women here are not happy with the hand they've been dealt. Why not stop and think about them for a minute rather than focus on attacking western women. If Japan was so great, why is the birth rate falling? Why is the divorce rate increasing? Why is child poverty increasing? Why are large numbers of single mothers living hand to mouth and/or on welfare? I've got the stats and research to support all of this - done by various Japanese researchers. Why are you denying it when it is constantly on the news here and Abe is commenting on the issues I have laid out? Clearly it is not just my "western" self that is concerned about this.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In my, admittedly short, experience working in a Japanese office (19 months), women are taken about as seriously as foreigners - that is to say, not seriously at all. However, Japanese women are openly reprimanded and shamed in front of other staff, whereas foreign staff are quietly taken into a small meeting room and told off one-to-one, but never in front of others.

Shame is a huge factor in Japanese society - much more so than NZ, and other countries. This is just me speculating, but based on what I've seen, Japanese women develop somewhat of a 'thick skin' to this public shaming, wherein they get used to the system of power harassment of senior (usually male) staff. The sexism is most certainly there, but they don't let it affect them as much as their male counterparts, when they themselves are subjected to the same process.

Thanks to the hierarchy of companies here, when people with any degree of authority (e.g. team leader) are shamed in this manner, they take it upon themselves to dish it out to their subordinates. For example, if a woman is called out for making a mistake, she will acknowledge and accept responsibility personally. When a man is called out, he will apologise in front of everyone, then when the teams return to their stations, he'll do his best to blame everyone around him.

Again, just speaking from personal experience, but it's the pattern I've noticed.

How this relates to 'misogyny' in the workplace, is that I don't believe they believe they're being misogynistic - sexist, absolutely. I think they would accept that, to be honest. One has only to look at their behaviour to tell that they flaunt their sexism, and they always have. As StormR stated,

She is passing judgment on a centuries old culture not on its work ethic

Culture should be judged. It shouldn't be a case of 'well, that's just the way they do things'. If we're truly to be a global community, we have to accept people as intellectual equals.

Sorry for all the tangents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

gogogoJUL

lack of childcare facilities,

This is the number 1 reason, there are like 50 spots for 1000 kids at government run childcare facilities, if you don't get it you have to pay for super expensive private childcare facilities.

Exactly this. No one wants to work if half the money goes to childcare

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Misogyny needs to be eliminated - everyone can agree to this. But to have a set ratio of 50:50 male/female is absurd - meritocracy is a much better measure of ability than elevating someone just because they're a certain race/gender.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yep, many heavy good comments. I have known Japan for more than a decade and work here now but it is not an happy place to enjoy life. Much of your life is controlled by the system. And Japanese culture is to never criticize openly. Although this keeps apparent peace, it is internally destructive. It is well known Japanese are not happy nation, one is hardly ever deciding for himself.

Many many foreign people who have come here will confirm. A minority of course will find its way to shiawase. They live in denial of change for the people, nearly everyone. Only material interest. When you know how interesting life is, you can't appreciate. Japanese are lovely persons but society is a spirit killer.

I still try to explain how good could be iniated by simple changes: individual opinion expression, respect of people in all cases, differenciation professional/ personal life, sex as natural pleasure for all anytime of life, respect of holidays as resting time, etc.

Misoginy is not existing, sexism yes but rather in the right way, women to their place. And I do see that on average, women are way more happier than men. I seek happiness, not yen or ratio achievement for politicians

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How about corporations create a half day or all day home office for people who can not come to work? Give them inexpensive laptop with giga - bytes flash memory and inexpewnsive office software products including Wordprocessor and accounting softwares, etc. They don't need child care facilities. They can pick up children at school. Install needed software in the laptop, Make sure access user name is encrypted so that contents of transmitting info are not stolen.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I agree with some comments that you can't expect to get rid of misogyny in the workforce without getting rid of it in larger society. It's down to the ways kids are raised and educated, same with "power harassment" you can't get rid of that in the workforce without targeting bullying in schools, and vice versa.

Sometimes I think the Japanese government is so bipolar, or at least wants to have its cake and eat it too, by saying they want more women in the workforce AND they want the birth rate to go up. Those things don't exactly go hand-in-hand like so many seem to think! If I have kids either I or my husband is OUT of the workforce to raise them properly, because family is more important than career or GDP or vacations in Hawaii for goodness sake.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If I'm not mistaken New Zealand where Helen Clark was the PM is one of the most socialist and feminist countries in the world with the honor of being the world's first country to provide universal social welfare to every citizen and the first to give women the right to vote. Any suggestions made by this former top brass of what is perhaps the most egalitarian nation on this planet would be too confusing for Confucian rooted Japan. It doesn't help that Helen Clark is a leftist among New Zealanders where the conservatives are quite liberal even by Western European standards.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My wife worked for a big Japanese corporation. When she was pregnant with our first child, and with a week to go before maternity leave, they made her, and any non-workfloor woman redundant. She was a vital part of her team, but despite her boss trying to keep her, the head office in Tokyo said no: all women must go. This was a few years back.

The same company had a policy of focing workfloor women to quit when the reached 40. Whether they wanted younger women around, or were trying to avoid extra insurance, I don't know - still, misogynistic b**s!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Star, did she contact a lawyer because that is illegal. The problems is, most give the old "shoganai" excuse and don't fight for their legal rights - which is why companies get away with that crap and it contines. The sad thing is, many women are "happy" when pushed out when pregnant so they can justify not working and staying home but can state they were pushed rather than jumped - have seen it myself more than a few times. None of the women I know who were pushed contacted Hello Work or a lawyer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tmarie,

I did suggest that to my wife, but we're in a pretty rural part of Japan, and my wife didn't want to be labeled as a 'trouble maker'. Reputations like that are a job-killer here.

To be honest, what we need are full government support, and a few 'old boys' locked up in jail for persistent law-breaking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

See, I would agree with you if I saw SAHM mothers here raising their kids properly, keeping a well kelp household... What I see are mothers and kids waiting in the morning for the kindy bus and kids being trucked off to questionable kindies where the goal is for them to make as much money as possible while providng the cheapest quality. EVERY child in my neighbourhood over the age of four goes to kindy.

I send my kids to kindy as well, and it's great. They love it, and they learn to socialize, how to swim, various sports, crafts, activities, how vegetables grow, how to take care of animals, and a number of other things that we as parents couldn't teach them alone. I'm not sure why you have such a bone to pick, but in my experience, it's been a great thing.

How do SAHM moms then get to claim they are home "for the kids"?

Because kindergarten (yochien) has such irregular hours, that most mothers could not work even if they wanted to. At our kindergarten, Wednesdays are half days. The first 2 weeks after any break are half days, and the last two weeks before any break are also half days. There are irregular events on weekends, which they then have a day off in lieu on a weekday. And if your kid is sick, they cannot go to the kindergarten that day, and usually the rule is for 3-4 days. It's pretty much impossible for a mother to take any kind of job that would require proper attendance. Also, the kids finish at 2pm (or so, depending on the kindergarten). The kids have to be picked up (or received, if they take the bus). That doesn't leave a lot of flexibility in time for work.

The houses I have been in here for the most part are death traps due to the clutter. I would 100% support your comments if I actually felt they were true but I just don't see it.

I don't see what you are seeing. Maybe it's a class thing or something. But the houses of the kids in our kindergarten are generally extremely well kept - because the mothers are at home cleaning every day.

Jr goes to kindy then gets shoved into piano, eikaiwa, karate, swimming... I don't really see the moms doing too much.

And how do you think jr kets to piano, eikaiwa, karate and swimming? Our kids do a few of those, and my wife is constantly driving around to get them to their various activities. And then she sits their and watches them, while taking care of the other kid.

I see them paying other people to look after their kid

You really think that they are paying people to teach their kids piano, eikaiwa, karate and swimming so that someone else will take care of their kid? Most parents end up going without on things for themselves to be able to afford these things for their kids. They are introducing their children to different activities and skills, so they can be more rounded as people, and get more experiences.

I have to wonder how your own childhood was - didn't your parents put you in any sports or activities? Are you really not able to recognize the benefit of these? My own mother, a single mother with three kids, suffered so that she could put us in piano, karate, and swimming lessons, and put us into sports. As a result I can swim, play a few instruments, protect myself, and play a few different sports. I'm very thankful for her for putting me into these. I have never felt like she was just trying to find someone else to take care of me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I assume your single mother worked to be able to afford all that - just as mine did. Which is rather my point. Working moms here get looked down upon because many see them as not placing priority on their kids unlike those that stay home. Kids here with working moms are made to feel unimportant - I can't count how many students have said to me "my mom worked so I was often asked if I was lonely" and such things. There is a massive stigma here with mothers working. I have no issue with kids being put into things but the whole "I stay home to take care of my kids" doesn't work with me because those kids often aren't home and with them.

Kindergartens can screw around with the schedules because there is the assumption that mom is at the beck and call of their kids. Again, that could easily be changed IF the parents demanded it. But they don't. Because many women here do not want careers and can use the screwed up scheduling as an excuse not to work.

And many daycares offer the vegetable growing, swimming, class pets... As well. That's where my axe to grind is. Why do working moms get shat on here when in many cases, face to face contact time isn't all that different most days from those SAHMs?

And a class thing? I live in an affluent neighbourhood - where nearly all moms are home. Suggesting only poor people have messy homes is classist in itself. No, these homes are not suffering from lack of money but are often so full of papers and crap - which is often why manatomo socialize outside the home. Space isn't an issue.

By all means if families can afford it and mom wants to stay home and not work, that's great. But could folks knock off the comments about how working moms aren't dedicated to their kids and that SAHMs are only home for their kids? They aren't. Many will openly admit they just don't want to work.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I assume your single mother worked to be able to afford all that

Yes, and I respect her for it. But what is interesting is that my brother and myself both have stay-at-home wives, and my sister is a stay-at-home wife. So it obviously had an impact on us all, as we all have chosen to go the route of having the mothers of our children take care of the children, rather than working. I know that for my brother and myself, this meant significant hardship for us at different times, but we still saw the value in having the mother at home to take care of our kids.

There is a massive stigma here with mothers working.

I don't see that as a bad thing myself. One parent should be at home with the children, whether that be the mother or father. I would love to do it myself, but it's not realistic.

Because many women here do not want careers and can use the screwed up scheduling as an excuse not to work.

You're a bit out of touch on that. I have heard the mothers complain about how these schedules prevent them from being able to go get a baito while the kids are at school many times. For many people (including my family a few years back before our businesses grew), having the entire family living on a single income is tight. Many mothers would love to supplement their income while the kids are at kindergarten, but it's just not feasible due to the schedules.

No, these homes are not suffering from lack of money but are often so full of papers and crap - which is often why manatomo socialize outside the home.

Again, this doesn't jive with what I've seen. Play-dates/groups regularly happen on days off at people's homes. They rotate around, going to different people's homes at different times/days. They also do other things, like going to events and parks etc, but I'd say the mothers meet up as often at each other's homes as they do outside the homes.

But could folks knock off the comments about how working moms aren't dedicated to their kids

Where has that been said? I think you are the only one saying it.

and that SAHMs are only home for their kids? They aren't.

So first you are complaining about a blanket statement that no one is making, then you make a blanket statement that is simply untrue, and equally as bad as the one you were just complaining about. How can you say SAHMs are not only home for their kids? It brings me back to my original point that started this dialogue:

an even greater factor is the attitudes of a majority of Japanese women themselves, a majority of whom would prefer freedom from workforce drudgery and the tyranny of the Japanese group mentality if they can find a husband who will foot the bill.

That's one way of looking at it. The other is that they place more worth in being home and raising the children properly, and keeping a well-kept household, than in working at some company to make enough money to pay for child support.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why on earth "should" one parent be home? That's the issue here. Society has never really had one parent home looking after the kids. Communities worked together and often kids were looking after kids.

It's not realistic for dads to be home here because women get paid crisp here - because if the assumption/pressure to get married and quit. And heaven help a stay at home dad here! The shunning that goes on here in some PTAs when dad shows up...

Trust me, I'm not out of touch at all. Moan when it benefits them to stay home, moan when it befits them to work. I've heard the same women moan about the opposite in one conversation. Yes, many would live to "supplement" their income with a tax free hobby job - which causes serious issues for those who need decent pay be a use they are single moms.

Moms in my area do lunch and coffee in cafes. Bbqs at home but always outside. I get invited over but only by those that have lived abroad or very close friends. Play dates are outside of the house for the most part. Which I don't have an issue with. I wouldn't want screaming kids in my house either.

Talk to a FT working mom and listen to the comments that get said to her. Listen to the PTA moms moan about Yamada who yet again can't make the meeting because of work... Why are women getting harassed to quit when pregnant? Why do women quit rather than fight back? The comments, the atmosphere, the lack of legelly entitled mat leave and child are leave been given - and comments of "mothers should be at home". You know, kind of like what you said above.

I don't blame many women here for not wanting to put up with the sexism and the like at work. However, when women turn around and heap it into others or refuse to take a stance, they don't get to play the victim. That's my point. The men here are often sexist pigs but I have been treated, and have witnessed, far more sexist behavior from women to other women. Who raised these guys to be the pigs they are? Their mothers. Certainly not all do but "boys will be boys" and "play nice girls" leads to sexism in society.

If women don't want to work and stay home, great. But men should have the same opportunities to do the same and if a woman wants to have kids and work, like most men, she should be treated fairly and paid her worth. That doesn't happen here though and I believe it is the attitudes of women that prevent all of this for the most part.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Moms in my area do lunch and coffee in cafes. Bbqs at home but always outside. I get invited over but only by those that have lived abroad or very close friends. Play dates are outside of the house for the most part.

tmarie, could it be that you see the mums doing lunch in the cafes because, well, they're in the cafe in public view, but you don't see the mums doing lunch in each other's homes because that's behind closed doors and you're not there? Same with play dates.....and you don't get invited to the indoor events because (1) you're working and not available for lunch and (2) when you are invited in you're wrinkling your nose at the clutter...?

When the kids were little and I wasn't working, it was common practice for the Mums and tinies to gather in the local park to play when the weather was fine, and in someone's home when the weather was bad. When the kids were a bit bigger and off at kindy and school during the day, we would gather in someone's home for casual English lessons, with coffee and cakes and occasionally lunch, and the very occasional lunch out if it was someone's birthday. From the outside, none of that would have been visible apart from the birthday lunches in restaurants, so how do you know what Mums are doing when you are at work?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Some work place, just can not employ or include female members Not misogyny, Not even in USA on that occupation. MLB clubs do not have female pitchers and other players. Likewise, many occupations such as workers for babysitting facilities, it must be difficult to train men to change diapers, etc.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

it must be difficult to train men to change diapers

Not if my son-in-law is anything to go by, it isn't.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@cleoJUL. 27, 2014 - 10:00AM JST it must be difficult to train men to change diapers Not if my son-in-law is anything to go by, it isn't.

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I was writing about Japanese men since this is Japanese work place topic. I did not write about your relative.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I was writing about Japanese men since this is Japanese work place topic. I did not write about your relative.

Mm, yes you did. My sil is Japanese.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Cleo, perhaps because I have friends who are SAHM and they tell me what they do during the day? And live the wrinkle nose dig. Did you enjoy the English leeches and being the foreign pet?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

perhaps because I have friends who are SAHM

With the scorn you so generously heap on SAHM? I doubt you'd choose them as your friends. And vice versa.

and they tell me what they do during the day?

And if I were doing something unusual or interesting like going out for lunch, I'd probably talk about it. But staying at home and doing ordinary stuff - what's there to talk about?

Did you enjoy the English leeches and being the foreign pet?

How sad you see your 'friends' in that light.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@cleo: ' I was writing about Japanese men since this is Japanese work place topic. I did not write about your relative.

Mm, yes you did. My sil is Japanese

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It is nice some Japanese men, such as your sil, work for day care center, No wonder Japanese women have hard tile to get into job circuit. Men even take women's type jobs. .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

toshiko, you said it must be difficult to train men to change diapers. I said it is not. Where in that dialogue is there any mention of men working in day care centres? Sil is a father. He does what a father needs to do, and that includes keeping his babies clean. He doesn't work in any day care centre.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@cleo: I wrote

Some work place, just can not employ or include female members Not misogyny, Not even in USA on that occupation. MLB clubs do not have female pitchers and other players.

Likewise, many occupations such as workers for babysitting facilities, it must be difficult to train men to change diapers, etc.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

I wrote workers for babysitting facilities.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

toshiko - I commented on what you wrote, not on what you think I thought you wrote. I even quoted the relevant part so that there would be no confusion.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

She is trying to help Japanese problems of shortage in work forces by increasing women in work forces. This is fine but UNDP, under her leadership, everybody in the world should have equal income. Check UNDP policy. She is preaching UNDP eaual pay in the world in Japan, too.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes. Sadly VERY true . . they re still making tea and pouring Sake for male colleagues at dinners. . .

Something to this day and age, I still can't get my head around. Women go to Universities and study hard for 4 years all just to work for a company and later serve tea, not only is it an insult, but all of these people are adults, get your own cup of tea, it shouldn't even exist to the point and level it does in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pouring tea must be true but I doubt sake story as you get fired if you drink booze during work hour.

When I was a young ignorant I tried to pour tea to next room section chief, I goofed. He complained in a big shots' room but he was told not to order me to pour tea. Then, thereafter, office employees were advised to bring thermos, No fresh tea for them. I felt sorry for them for my goofing but when I said to a big shot, he said, Safety reason, Time changed. Many girls go to universities now. Not for window dressing but for jobs, they get hired and they still have to pour tea.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Honestly it makes me sick reading feminist facebook posts/ the western feminists spew their bullcrap looking for meaningless reasons to get upset over when Countries like Japan ACTUALLY have legitimate misogynistic problems to deal with.

I wish those people could live in a country where problems are REAL so they can see the difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Helen Clark is a terrible role model for the women of Japan and the rest of the world. More dependency ( in Clark's case it would be on government ) isn't the answer for women that want to live in a society where they have more opportunity to make their own life choices.

There are several troublesome problems that I see with the treatment of women in Japan. Once the people of Japan come to want change, it will change. It's just not going to change as fast as many of us non-Japanese want it to. I just really dislike the sort of embedded disrespect that women have to endure in Japan. Yes, it's not like what women in the Middle East have to live under. But one would hope that in an advanced country they could do better.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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