TOKYO – This was considered to be the era when Japan finally surpassed its century of patriarchal dominance and empowered women in the field. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the country’s prosperity depended on it, and promised policies to help women shine. Even she gave Push a name: feminism.
Sayaka Hojo has yet to see the fruits of those vows.
Ms. Hojo, the mother of a young daughter of 32 years, has three different employers during Mr. Abe’s nearly eight-year tenure, which she said at the end of last month that he was leaving office. In all those jobs, Ms. Hojo worked mostly with women, but was overseen by men – still a common position in Japan that significantly increased Mr. Abe’s promise to increase women’s share in management roles.
And Ms. Hojo, like many women in Japan, cannot accept a full-time job even after pushing Mr. Abe through a law to ease Japan’s ruthless work culture. Because she resorts to shoulders for household chores and babysitting, working hours are very demanding.
“If there are talented, capable women who are married or who have children, their career paths are closed,” Ms Hojo said. In Mr. Abe’s rhetoric about flowers raising women, he said: “I saw a huge difference between what I said and what was really happening.”
As Mr. Abe has been on a record-long run in office, one of the more consequential entries on his list of unfulfilled aspirations is his goal of promoting women in the workforce, addressing serious demographic problems such as declining and growing populations is.
None of the three MPs who have replaced her in Japan as they move toward electing a new leader on Monday – front-runner, Yoshihide Suga, Mr. Abe’s chief cabinet secretary – are said to have significantly changed the environment for women It is seen as if the picture remains serious.
According to government figures, women hold less than 12 percent of corporate management jobs, down from Mr Abe’s original 30 percent target. And while the percentage of women in the work force had risen to a high of 52.2 percent during their prime ministership, more than half of them work in part-time or contract jobs that provide some benefit or path to career advancement. Those workers have also suffered the most during the epidemic, losing income and hours of work.
However, with many women coming back into the workforce, it is often “a strange task to put a little extra money into domestic work”, said Nobuko Kobayashi, a partner at EY Japan, a consulting firm.
“So do we really call that womanism in the sense that it is raising the status of women in society?” he said. “No.”
Mr Abe changed the tone of the previous leaders, who declared that a woman had the right place in the house. And in one area, at least, women have made noticeable progress: by 2020, central government ministries had more than a third of women for management-track jobs, less than a quarter in 2012.
But many women still struggle to find adequate childcare, even as Mr Abe promised to eliminate the waiting list for public day-care centers by 2020. Earlier this year, there were about 12,500 children on the waiting list, with numbers even falling to Japan-born children at the lowest level in nearly a century and a half.
Among single mothers, poverty rates have worsened under Mr Abe. According to the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training, a think tank, more than half of people fell below the poverty line in 2019 after Mr Abe became prime minister in 2012.
For many women, Mr. Abe showed his true complexion on two cultural issues: his repeated dedication to a growing push to change 19th-century legislation shows that married couples use a surname, And his emphasis on the “importance of male succession”. The majority of the Japanese public allows a woman to become emperor.
“Even though we knew he was from a conservative background, he was pretending that he was supporting women’s active participation in society,” Tommy Yamaguchi, an anthropology and sociology professor at Montana State University who is Japanese Doing research on feminism.
The stagnant progress of women in society is a part of uprooting their deep roots in politics.
The three legislators who enacted legislation to replace Mr. Abe as Prime Minister are men. The two women initially indicated they would be interested in running, but quickly exited after failing to gain support.
Women represent less than 15 percent of MPs in Japan’s parliament. Of the 102 current parliamentary members who are women, less than half are in Mr Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party. Only three members of her cabinet of 20 are women.
As professor of political science at Doshisha University in Kyoto and editor of “Gender Gap Gap” in Japan, Gill Steele said there is a failure in recruiting and nominating women due to Japan’s low number of female leaders.
“Abe presided over this situation and did nothing to change it,” she said.
A group of 10 Liberal Democratic women in parliament wrote a letter to three candidates for prime minister, urging them to support a minimum threshold of 30 percent female representation among national lawmakers.
Yaoi Kimura, a moderate Democratic member of the House of Representatives who supported the letter, said that while he co-sponsored a bill to provide tax breaks for unmarried parents, some of his male colleagues argued that his single Mothers were Amir’s mistresses. Men or highly active career women who did not require government assistance.
Ms Kimura said the measure was passed, as women from all parties voted together.
Some women hope that Mr. Suga will suit their needs. Unlike most Japanese lawmakers, he does not come from a wealthy political family. In Yokohama, where he served on the city council, he worked to reduce the long-term care waiting list.
Yet, like so many men in Japanese politics, Mr. Suga has made public comments that reflect traditional views about a woman’s role in society.
When a popular actor, Masaharu Fukuyama, married actress Kazu Fukishi in 2015, Mr. Suga predicted on television that his marriage would allow “mama-sons” around the country to have children with new couples and contribute to the country Will inspire you . “
And while Mr. Suga and the other two men were running for the Prime Ministers, Fumio Kishida and Shigeru Ishiba, they were asked in an argument about what kind of father they are, all admitted that their children at home rarely grew up Sometimes spend time Mr. Kishida was attacked on Twitter after posting a picture of him recently Wife served him food While she stood towards the door more like a waitress than a companion.
Megumi Mikawa, 40, said she did not see how her life had improved under the Abe administration. In July, she quit her clerical job in Nishinomiya, a city in western Japan, as she was unable to perform her duties from home during the epidemic.
Because she voluntarily quit a part-time job, she was not eligible for unemployment benefits or government subsidies for parents who took time to care for children while schools were closed due to coronovirus.
One day in a zoom in interview from her kitchen when her 7-year-old daughter’s school was closed because a woman from Typhoon, Ms. Mikawa, whose husband is currently stationed in Tokyo, said the number of women in the bus parliament increased May promote more women-friendly policies.
“The fundamental ideas of the country are controlled by men,” she said. “That’s why we have no policies to truly cater to the common people.”
Ms. Hojo, accountant, said she sees her fate as extending beyond motherhood. “I still have ambitions,” he said.
When she returned to work after staying home with her newborn daughter for two years, she worked a part-time job at a medical clinic, where she had previously worked full-time. Since her husband worked 100 hours as a delivery service driver, she accepted a reduction in her hours because staff members at the clinic were required to stay until 8 pm – too much to take her daughter from day care was late.
She said that she wanted the next prime minister to use her goons to promote gender equality.
Call for an idiomatic expression – nagai mono ni makareru – On people’s tendency to follow the right, she said: “If the government, which is in the strongest position,” demonstrates the importance of giving women more opportunities in the workplace, “private companies will follow suit.”
The reporting was contributed by Makoiko Inoue, Ben Dole and Hikari Hida.