Japan Today

Japan falls to record-low 125th in global gender gap ranking


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I am an old ignorant, please forgive me. If Japan wants to solve this inequality, it should start by changing all education plans, for women and men alike.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Just look at Kishida's cabinet...mostly geezers....with hardly 2-3 women in the mix...

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Yes, that makes sense, along with the blogs here.

@one_consciousnessToday  06:55 am JST

You're right and I have proof. My oldest daughter is studying in the US, and she is way more happier there than in Japan. It's more for the reason that she has a little more liberty about many things, like people to hang out with, her clubs, and a couple of her courses. She tried doing a semester in Japan, and right away, she told me that it felt more like military. Things (especially learning) had to be done a certain way. My wife (Japanese) and I argued a few times about this that I told her that people are different and everyone has their own way of learning.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

While a gender gap ranking is necessary, I think that the data adopted is biased and produces unnatural results. For example, data such as the female participation rate in the Olympics, the freedom of action of women (whether women can walk alone at night, driving license possession rate, abortion access, etc.) could be also used for the index. In addition, differences in life expectancy and suicide rates between men and women might be taken into account. And I think this index focuses quite a bit on politics, but I don't think most Japanese people like the tedious job of being a politician, and I don't think many want to be politicians.

Equal pay is most important, and the various participation rates may not be so important. Excessive promotion of women's activities in a society where many women want to be full-time housewives will lead to higher suicide rates and lower life expectancy due to stress, and a declining birthrate. It is important to promote social advancement in moderation, not excessively.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japanese women understand this...Westerners...not so much. 

Broad generalizations never add value to an argument.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"The government as a whole will aggressively push forward efforts" to address the gender gap, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno at a regular news conference.

Except that of course they will not do anything that would hurt their chances of getting elected, like opposing the interests of the tiny minority of influential, rich people that make sure they stay in power.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

As a European woman It does not surprise me in the least that Japan has such a low ranking, and I bet most of the other countries in that part of the world are the same. Women are NOT valued and looked down upon, unless of course they are earning or making billions of whatever. My country is at No 6 in that table which is still too low. This is 2023 not pre war or the 17th/18th century, woman can contribute equally, or even better to society than men, because we see the things differently, unlike war mongering men.....So there!!!...........ps. this comment will really P*** men off.......ha ha ha.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

"He's the perfect voice for young women in Japan (lol)."

You just mocked a survey conducted of Japanese high school girls about what they'd like to be in the future. It was 5000 girls to be exact. You assumed that YOU know better than THEY about what they SHOULD want to do. Perhaps you should listen to more closely to what young women in Japan actually want. 2/3 of those young women said they want to become homemakers.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The report, which tracks progress toward gender equality in the fields of the economy, politics, education and health, noted only 10 percent of Japan's parliamentarians and just 8.3 percent of ministerial positions were held by women. It also noted the country has never had a female prime minister.

Umm why so selective? Why is less than the top 1% of career fields taken into consideration? Why not ALL fields of employment? Why not include trades and industry? Do you seek equality or superiority?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Leo, talk to some Japanese women. They will tell you it is awful!

Too many old men at the top in politics and they can't change their views or just don't want to. It is very similar in local government.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I'm guessing that Japan is "improving", but that other other countries are reducing the "gap" faster?

I don't see inequality of outcome to be a problem, they should focus only on inequality of opportunity.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Anyway one of Japan's most urgent problems is the declining birthrate, addressing that would probably make the ranking lower. I don't think they would particularly care though.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If I have a choice between working and not working I think I will prefer not working.

If that so called ranking is a result of women here having that choice and exercising it then it's all good

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I mean Japan keeps publicly making goals and statements about it and when they don’t meet them or more likely say something so baffling embarrassing about women with no recourse, yeah, the world notices

“we want more women in office and will try to meet this goal wholeheartedly “

-next week-

“this is why we shouldn’t have women in office, they talk to much -whole room of old men laughs live on tv across the world”

-next week-

“Omg sorry for that guy, no place for him! See how much we respect women we will invite them to our meeting session next time… where they have to stand at the sides and promise not to talk!”


0 ( +7 / -7 )

More women should stand as candidates and other women should vote for them. That'll sort out politics, and is mostly in women's own hands.

Economics is much more difficult. I don't know the calculation being used for the ranking here, but I would care far more about a gender pay gap than the number of women on a board of directors. That number is meaningless to most people. A gender pay gap is not.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The more the government *tries" (read: does nothing) the lower the ranking falls. Perhaps it will finally be women who are fed up with the status quo that will initiate real change here through the power of their vote. Or, not. Why am I thinking it will be the latter?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )


A major reason why we will not bring up our daughter in Japan (apart from poor safety for girls and women etc.).

I have to agree. I would give ANYTHING to be able to immigrate with my family to Canada. My wife wants that even more than I do - the main reason we want to go there is for a better future for the kids.

If I didn't have kids, I'd be perfectly happy growing old here and capitalizing on the Nomihodais everywhere.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

There will be people who will be angry, though, the article on the attached site is interesting. Sorry, but you will have to translate it yourself.


-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The overall gender gap ranking was topped by Iceland, with Norway second and Finland third. New Zealand was the best-performing country in the East Asia and Pacific region at fourth, followed by the Philippines at 16th.

Combine the above and you have 10% of Japans GDP Iceland for example 25 billion GDP.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

What's the "gender-gap" in terms of who controls the household's banking, who in the household makes decisions about major purchases like cars, washing machines, vacations, houses etc. who in the household makes the decisions concerning the children's education. Who in the household works longer hours. Who is more likely to retain custody of the children when there is a divorce.

I'd like to see a survey regarding Japan's "gender-gap" regarding these questions.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

"Broad generalizations never add value to an argument."

True...Which is why surveys about such things are helpful. They provide us with pervading views about certain demographic groups. I'd say a survey of 5000 is a large enough sample size to make such a generalization.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"You know that several Japanese universities have accepted charges of refusing to take on women students? How many other universities and organisations are doing the same thing?"

If this had gone on you'd have an argument. The fact is this malpractice was rooted out and exposed. Good for that. My daughter is in micro-biology, in a STEM field.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

"You know the story of the frog in the frying pan?"

I know the story of St.Marianna University, a Catholic institution in Tokyo being caught favoring male candidates. I know the story of how other universities were rooted out for doing something similar. Good thing Japan is a nation in which such things don't go unchecked, rather it's one in which there is recourse for such abuses. On a personal note, I came to Japan after being told flat out in my interview for the education programme at York University in Toronto that "We're currently not accepting applicants from white males". Not only does such a racist policy not get rooted out and corrected, but it is lauded and supported by the government. I wonder where Canada stands on the "racial justice" scale. Speaking of Catholic institutions, look up "Residential Schools Canada" to see how well Catholic institutions to care of the children they took from their crying mothers' arms because the native culture was deemed "too savage" to bring up their own children. While you're looking that up, look into how many First Nation's young girls are trafficked into prostitution. Where is Canada on that "gender-gap" scale? How many First Nation's women are in medical school?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Question: What happened to "womanomics"? Shouldn't Japan be improving on the gender equality scale?

Answer: It was just B.S.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

“Female participation in the labor force is 63%, far lower than in other rich countries,” wrote The Economist in an article last year. “When women have their first child, 70% of them stop working for a decade or more, compared with just 30% in America. Quite a lot of those 70% are gone for good.”

This from a recent article. I hope people understand that women are free to make such choices in Japan. A similar survey was conducted by the Japan Times in 2015 in which high school girls were asked what they want to be in the future. 2/3 of the respondents answered "homemaker". In Japan, the homemaker rules the social world. Japanese women understand this. Westerners...not so much.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The nation is ranked 138th in political empowerment, below Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which ranked 131st and 137th, respectively.

Very reliable ranking.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Countries like Sierra Leone and Guatemala rank higher than so called first world Japan. The Japanese government should be ashamed of themselves.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

This a ridiculous statistics.

It is a fact that Japanese women are the best educated in the the world...... by far.

They could fill many demanding high positions in international business ......but may of them like to concentrate on their family and kids after getting married . The people who made this report do not know anything.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

But be aware that one of the reasons Japan got into this state (or never got out), as it does with most of its problems, is that it gets ignored, swept under the rug. Own the problem and take action.


-5 ( +5 / -10 )

"Why? What would it prove? You want to fix it so Japan doesn't;t look so bad?

That's a weak way to address a problem.

These things you write about are not really related to a gender gap and say nothing about opportunities for women in their lives (e.g. career, social influence)."

A survey was conducted by the Japan Times in 2015 in which high school girls were asked what they want to be in the future. 2/3 of the respondents answered "homemaker". On the surface, the gender gap in the workplace looks like a matter of "patriarchal oppression". A closer look reveals that women's choices have more to do with it than anything else. This from an article published by the Economist:

"“Female participation in the labor force is 63%, far lower than in other rich countries,” wrote The Economist in an article last year. “When women have their first child, 70% of them stop working for a decade or more, compared with just 30% in America. Quite a lot of those 70% are gone for good.”

Your supposition is about a lack of "opportunities", while the facts say that "choices" have a greater impact on outcomes in the workplace, in politics etc.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

"Yes, but WHY are Japanese girls saying they want to be homemaker Geeter?"

Because they VALUE the role of homemaker...the MOST crucial role in society. If homemakers raise healthy, happy children who have an emotional and moral sense of well-being as well as a sense of responsibility then society will function much better than if a homemaker is negligent in his/her duties to his/her children and society.

Japanese women understand this...Westerners...not so much. Which is why you sigh...

The thing is this, Japanese girls CAN do "whatever their hearts desire". My eldest daughter is currently on full scholarship at University of Tsukuba. Nothing prevented her from pursuing her goals. Nothing whatsoever. That's her desire. Others DESIRE becoming a homemaker. You think that is a bad thing? Sigh...

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Countries like Sierra Leone and Guatemala rank higher than so called first world Japan. The Japanese government should be ashamed of themselves.

Not only that bacon-

The nation is ranked 138th in political empowerment, below Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which ranked 131st and 137th, respectively.


-5 ( +3 / -8 )

We're number 1! (25)

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Japan seems to be doing quite well, maybe other countries should follow Japan.

You recommend more inequality for all?

-7 ( +13 / -20 )

A few days ago, a frequent contributor to Japan Today comments said in connection with the Emperor's visit to Indonesia that the Southeast Asian country has great respect for Japan and may be as "advanced" as Japan in 50 to 100 years!

So, on the Gender Gaps Report for 2023, Japan has fallen to 125th place. Indonesia is 87th place. Other interesting rankings: Namibia is at 8th place, Zimbabwe at 45th place, Laos is at 54th place, Mongolia, 80th place and Myanmar at two notches above Japan, 123rd place. Perhaps if Myanmar was not (mis-)ruled by a military junta, its ranking would be much higher since the status of women in Myanmar has traditionally been comparatively high.

Japan = high tech (though falling behind) + Neo-Confucian ethics.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

From day 1, old Japanese men have kept Japanese women walking 5 paces behind them. This subservient gender positioning of females permeates Japanese culture and society. This is one reason why the birth rate in Japan will continue to decline as modern Japanese women object to their second class status.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Way to go, Japan!!

-21 ( +18 / -39 )

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