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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet ministers pose for a group photo at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on Sept 11. There are only two women in the cabinet. Photo: REUTERS file
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Japan drops to 121st in 2019 gender equality ranking

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A picture says more than a thousand words.

Slogan by a US company years ago!

2 out of 24 = roughly 10%.

There is still so much that remains to be done.

Most definitely not during Mr. Abe's reign!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Is anyone really surprised? After the recent fiasco over female employees and glasses can there be any doubt that Japan is still stuck in a retro future version of the 1950s?

16 ( +22 / -6 )

I'm just surprised it's not #150. The same people who defend Japan on this insist on a male-limited line to the Chrysanthemum Throne, then get all offended when you point out that is part of the mentality that has resulted in Japan ranking so poorly.

But hey, what good is a woman in the work place if she's not in high heels serving tea, right? or if she wears glasses.

22 ( +27 / -5 )

Japan is the worst country in the world if you are a female with career ambitions.

However, it's a great country if you aspire to only be a housewife; society expects nothing more, PLUS you get incentives NOT to work much.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

I'll bet the government will lay the blame for this on the women of Japan! There is no way in hell that "men" here are to blame for the problem. The government probably doesnt even see it as a problem!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

My daughter was born and raised in Japan but attended college in the US and decided not to come back. I miss her but trust her judgment.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Wow, dropping in the ratings with Abe pushing Womanomics? All nice speeches by him but in the end nothing changes, no, it actually gets worse.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Abe pushing Womanomics? All nice speeches by him but in the end nothing changes

They pour beer wearing high heels for oyajis wearing outrageous floral super cool biz shirts in early piss-ups on Premium Friday.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

They do realise that the lower the number the better, right?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's been about 6 years since Abe began his "All women can Shine" (shine - some Japanese commentators read as しね) policy for Japanese society.

Sadly the results of the latest World Economic Forum gender equality survey puts such officialese into it's correct place - the failure bin.

But still the "Well he's better than anyone else" cries echo across the land.

A travesty if ever there was.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I really hope this gets widespread coverage in the Japanese news

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The top 20 most dangerous jobs are still dominated by men, who hold an average of somewhere in the upper 90 percentile. When are these industries going to WAKE UP and hire more women!?

Come ON, Japan!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Another goal achieved! Along with Abenomics, revitalizing Fukushima, and the revising the constitution, this guy's batting 1000!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I believe this is calculated on four metrics, health, education, economics and politics.

Japanese women actually score very highly on health and education. Life expectancy is world-leading and many women go to four-year university. I mention this because it means Japan must be near the bottom for economics and politics to drag the the total to such a low result.

I'll get slated for this, but Japan needs more solidarity between women, particularly between stay-at-home mothers and those working full time. I also think some women give other women a much harder time for transgressions than they give men. If a woman has an affair, like Becky or the politician Shiori Yamao, she'll get much more vicious criticism than a man would. Some of this criticism is clearly coming from women.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just found out ???.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Women are 50% of population, they run the house, raise the children look after the budget... But men for some reason think in Japan the most important job is changing the copier ink cartridges 4 years of university study for women. Think Japanese men are actually scarred of women? Abe is really scared of his grandmother she constantly talking about how great her husband was. It a nasty mind set from the top down.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And what is surprising about this?

Males in Japan got brainwashed from childhood to be the “man” and females from childhood learn how a girl “should” sit or speak.

And the saddest part is that we see no room for improvements in such a sexist eradicated society.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Is this a bad thing?

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

LagunaToday  04:51 pm JST

My daughter was born and raised in Japan but attended college in the US and decided not to come back. I miss her but trust her judgmen

Wise choice from your daughter.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

We are behind China and Korea and may be a little above Muslim world. So, it is not necessarily the influences of feudal Confucianism. We may have some other reasons. Yet, it is changing a lot. Many Japanese ladies are working today since they cannot afford without the income of wives.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Shameful as this is, you can't help wondering if the blame lies solely on the gerontocracy.

I have lost count of the number of well-educated, skilled and professional young women I've met who have told me, without the slightest hint of irony, that their "ambition" is to be a housewife.

And can you blame them? When the workplace offers nothing but undervaluation and bullying, snide office politics and nonsense about whether or not you can wear glasses or have a tattoo hidden away somewhere nobody's going to see and be horrified by without an invitation, the prospect of looking after a couple of kids and putting your feet up while they're at school doesn't sound too bad, particularly when you've got your hooks into some poor sap working all the hours God sends to keep you provided for.

It could be argued it's a 2-way street

8 ( +9 / -1 )

SHOCKING!!!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Vince BlackToday  05:31 pm JST

I really hope this gets widespread coverage in the Japanese news.

...who do you think has been able to reinforce/maintain gender stereotypes via their control of the mass media? Abe is merely the face of certain forces in Jpn society.

vanityofvanitiesToday  06:19 pm JST

We are behind China and Korea and may be a little above Muslim world. So, it is not necessarily the influences of feudal Confucianism. We may have some other reasons.

Yes they also insure that the imperial system remains in place to enforce the traditional hierarchy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe's forth arrow. The High Heel.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Is this a bad thing?

Easy answer - yes.

The usual cohort of flag waving nationalists are absent today. Yet a few weeks ago when the Japanese navy announced its first female captain, their message was all about how Japan allows women to reach the top.

Sorry, Japan. You are at the bottom.

Let's just have a look at the countries immediately before and after Japan on the report:

114 Myanmar 0.665 –26 -0.024 n/a

115 Mauritius 0.665 –6 +0.002 +0.032

116 Malawi 0.664 –4 +0.002 +0.020

117 Timor-Leste 0.662 7 +0.025 n/a

118 Angola 0.660 7 +0.027 +0.056

119 Benin 0.658 –1 +0.003 +0.080

120 United Arab Emirates 0.655 1 +0.013 +0.063

121 Japan 0.652 –11 -0.010 +0.008

122 Kuwait 0.650 4 +0.020 +0.016

123 Maldives 0.646 –10 -0.016 n/a

124 Tunisia 0.644 –5 -0.004 +0.015

125 Guinea 0.642 –9 -0.014 n/a

126 Vanuatu* 0.638 n/a n/a n/a

127 Papua New Guinea* 0.635 n/a n/a n/a

128 Nigeria

In other words, a little bit better than the UAE, but a bit worse than Kuwait. In fact, if you hid the name of Japan and asked someone to guess who is at #121, from looking at the above list you would guess a largely muslim, developing country. Embarrassing.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Oof. Japan is languishing in the bottom quartile.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

 the prospect of looking after a couple of kids and putting your feet up while they're at school doesn't sound too bad

I take it you've never been a housewife.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Another BS ranking by these global self-proclaimed professional organizations. If only people took few minutes of their lives to study just how rotten these organizations are, they will never believe one again. The methodology is BS. It's not like Japan doesn't have gender issues, but to say they are less "equal" than countries with sharia law is ridiculous to put it mildly. To me the way WEF organizes and categorizes the world into regions is what instantly discredits them. Japan is a very traditional and conservative society. They still have similar traditional gender roles as America did in the 50s and 60s. Things are definitely changing for the better, but it will take at least 1 or 2 more decades to see significant change. 5/6 years ago women protests or women activists was something unheard of, today it's the norm. When you are one of those bureaucratic faceless NGO's, your main concern is keeping the money flow going. You just have to keep producing these meaningless papers with no concern for reality. This reminds me of Saudi Arabia becoming member of the UN human rights council. This is the level of mindlessness of these big bureaucratic organizations.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

In other words, a little bit better than the UAE, but a bit worse than Kuwait.

Err, do you know how to read this table and understand it?!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Another BS ranking by these global self-proclaimed professional organizations.

People from countries who score badly on things like this usually say that.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

'Well done' Japan.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

People from countries who score badly on things like this usually say that.

Well, I'm not Japanese, and Bulgaria ranks 17th, which is higher than Switzerland and UK. I always try to be objective, and my opinion on these global organizations come from actually studying their methodology and looking more deeply into the rankings than what is shown on the surface.

I still remember last year when Transparency International, whom i trusted until then, put Bulgaria in a list of countries where journalists have been killed for political reasons. This happened literally the very next day after a journalist was found dead. Literally nothing was clear about the case. Investigation hadn't even started yet, yet TI already "knew" the truth. About a month later, they caught the murderer, and he admitted that he didn't even know she was a journalist. It turned out that it had nothing to do with her profession, yet Transparency International STILL did not remove BG from their list. A lot of people complained about it until they eventually removed us from the list, and few months later put us back on it again for absolutely no apparent reason. This is when all my trust in them was lost, and i became enormously skeptical of these rankings. I don't trust anything until i personally do my own research on the topic.

Their terminology is also telling. I can't remember which organization it was, but i remember looking at a ranking that had placed Turkey as part of "Western Europe". It's pretty clear that they just replaced Western bloc with Western Europe and couldn't even tell the difference. This is how mindless they are.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I wonder where all the rightists are defending this fact?

Absolutely embarrassing and shameful for Japan and for Abe in particular with his womenomics pledge.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet ministers pose for a group photo at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on Sept 11. There are only two women in the cabinet.

And one of them's Takaichi Sanae, best mate of Japan's leading Neo-Nazi.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/09/neo-nazi-photos-pose-headache-for-shinzo-abe

Comedy gold. The only way women can make it to the top of the LDP is by hanging out with neo-nazis.....

6 ( +9 / -3 )

This numbers are highly questionable.

This is more anti-Japan propaganda than anything I've seen in real life. Progress for women it's being made, even western countries have problems with the me too movement yet their numbers are not affected.

Trump is talking about grabbing them by their private parts, they want to make abortion illegal, sexual harrasement stories all the time coming from America... Believe those fake numbers if you want.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I work in a Japanese company outside of Japan in an international environment.

All of 5 of my Japanese colleagues with young babies have no idea on how to change nappies or prepare a milk bottle.

And the worst, they do not understand why I am surprised.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@ Ilovecoffee

I recommend you to read a few books from Amelie Nothomb about her life in Japan.

Nothing to do with NGO, a sincere love of Japan but a knife sharp critic of the Japanese male dominant society.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Sadly these polls and rankings really do not matter for any country. To even consider requiring or forcing such standard is irrational, impractical and silly.

To make "equality" in numbers in gender in anything, except may be in (hypothetically) gender based sports with the same weight, height, build and training and even age may make sense to have a semblance of equal competitiveness, but it will be impossible to have the same race, religion, color, color of eyes, size of hands, length of legs and size of feet and have equal groups of teams compete. It is like saying a family must have equal numbers males and females of the same ages with the same abilities. And, even if they were equal in numbers, their performance will be totally different and do not guarantee any "equal" results for male or female rights or for the members of the society already different to begin with.

Only in mathematics in an agreed upon concept of numbers can there be equal. Nothing in life or in this universe is ever equal. To begin with ,everything is "unique" and "independent".

In any government, the roles and requirements are different as the abilities of those who have the positions. The key is whether male or female, that person is able to fulfill their duties and resposibilities.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'll get slated for this, but Japan needs more solidarity between women, particularly between stay-at-home mothers and those working full time. 

Wake up, those stay at home women morph into helicopter moms and ruin the lives of their kids. I see them at sports practice all the time. It's embarrassing that they have nothing else in their lives but to hover over their kids and kill their spirits. Especially their boys. No, big difference between full time workers and the bon-bon tossing crowd of parasites who hide their laziness behind obsessive motherhood.

Are you feeling slated?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hey, James Brown said, "It's a man's world..."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not too bad. There are almost 195 countries on this planet.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Ummm yeah try working with a bunch of women. Good luck with that.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Trump is talking about grabbing them by their private parts, they want to make abortion illegal, sexual harrasement stories all the time coming from America... Believe those fake numbers if you want.

Yes. Trump is the one constantly touching Ivanka inappropriately and treating Melania like a 1950s housewife. He also denigrates women like Megyn Kelly and Greta. Also, saying Japanese women have a worse lifestyle than Muslim women who are forced to wear hijabs and burkas or who are shot in the head for wanting to go to school is ridiculous. Japan has some gender equality problems but like Mr. Coffee said, let us be objective and fair.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I recommend you to read a few books from Amelie Nothomb about her life in Japan.

Nothing to do with NGO, a sincere love of Japan but a knife sharp critic of the Japanese male dominant society.

Do you not understand that in some countries that are ranked above Japan, women get stoned to death if they get raped, or get whipped publicly for going outside without their man?

Again, i am not saying Japan doesn't have problems with women rights, they definitely do, but you have to put things into perspective. Compared to countries like America, Japan is definitely lacking behind at least 50 years, but compared to many other places ranked above them, Japan is definitely way ahead. Like i said, Japan is a very traditional place, and they still have the old traditional gender roles. Females have expected role to play in society, and so do Males too. Males do the work, and bring home the money, while Females clean the house and take care of the kids. Everybody has their own expected role. It's a traditional society in many ways, although it is changing rapidly, everyone can see that. Especially in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. One difference between Japan and some of the countries that ranked above is that, in Japan there is no institutional discrimination against women, it is a social one, while in other countries, it is an institutional one ingrained in the State law.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A picture says more than a thousand words.

You're right. When it comes to Japanese women competing with men, I prefer this one:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/darts/50801995

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe Japan should abolish women-only trains to go up in the rankings.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Burning BushToday 08:28 am JST

Maybe Japan should abolish women-only trains to go up in the rankings.

Maybe Japan should take sex crimes seriously to go up in the rankings.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In a country that rape victims have to recreate their rape with a life size doll while being filmed by two male police. Or being filmed being carried after being drugged into a hotel is dismissed. Being gang rapped by a Proffeser and his students from a prestigious university is again dismissed. Being raped your whole life by your dad and the judge says you didn't fight enough? It's pretty obvious those that make the laws are protecting themselves. It's a sickening state of affairs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hey, James Brown said, "It's a man's world..."

...and then he busted his old lady's lip open.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Despite all the negative comments here Japanese women get things pretty good compared to a lot of the other higher rated countries on the list.

girl_in_tokyoToday 09:44 am JST

Burning BushToday 08:28 am JST

Maybe Japan should abolish women-only trains to go up in the rankings.

Maybe Japan should take sex crimes seriously to go up in the rankings.

Not really Western guys have been groped by Japanese women on those crowded trains, with the trains so crowded I seriously wonder how many of these incidents are mistaken with people trying to stay upright.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Andrew CrispToday 01:31 pm JST

Burning BushToday 08:28 am JST

Maybe Japan should abolish women-only trains to go up in the rankings.

girl_in_tokyoToday 09:44 am JST

Maybe Japan should take sex crimes seriously to go up in the rankings.

Not really Western guys have been groped by Japanese women on those crowded trains, with the trains so crowded I seriously wonder how many of these incidents are mistaken with people trying to stay upright.

Women are quite capable of discerning the difference between someone brushing against or even grabbing onto her in order not to fall, and a man grabbing her breast or buttock for a cheap thrill.

The most recent white paper on crime by the Japanese government cited the number of gropings and other sex crimes on trains in the thousands. The reporting rate for such sex crimes has been cited as 4%.

I'm sure you are capable of doing the math.

Also, just for the record, when men are groped on the trains that is just as wrong and just as damaging. Every person who has experienced sexual assault and/or harassment has my empathy and my support.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This index is utterly bogus. It is based entirely on F/M ratios. If F is larger than M, a country gets a good rating.

In Britain 37% of women go to higher education but only 27% of men do. In Japan 54% of men go on to higher education but “only” 48% of women do.

Britain gets a “good” score because the female figure is higher than the male figure. Japan gets downgraded because the female figure is lower than the male figure even though more females go on to higher education in Japan than Britain.

The index looks only at national government for its political index. The fact that Tokyo and Yokohama are both headed by women counts for nothing. In terms of population, Tokyo is a mid-rank European country.

The easiest way to make things better for women is to make things worse for men. Rwanda is number nine in this index because genocidal warfare within the country killed off more men than women in the 1990s.

Nicaragua is in the top 10. It is one of the few countries with a near absolute prohibition on abortion. Search on Nicaragua+women and you will see that Nicaragua is not a great place for anyone, least of all women.

All this is not to say that things could not be better for women in Japan but this absurd index is not a good indicator of their status or the rate of change.

Ethiopia rose more than 30 points in the rankings between 2018-2019. Social change just not happen that rapidly anywhere.

At one time Lesotho, possibly the poorest country in the world, was 14 on this index. It is now 88.

Anyone who believes the ranking of Japan is accurate should be prepared to believe the ranking of the US (53) is accurate and that the US is behind Bangladesh (50), Bulgaria (49), Zimbabwe (47), Bolivia (42), Burundi (32), Mexico (25), Albania (20).

Don’t take my word for these rankings. They are from page nine of the report. Download it here.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2020.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Women have a ton of power here. They give hubby a few thousand yen a month and they spend the rest on cake, sushi and outrages clothing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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