What is gender equality in Japan

by Ayaka Nishizaki

Gender inequality has been one of controversial topics for a long time in many countries as well as Japan. This time, I would like to think and mention gender inequality in Japan.

During my class, I learned an inequality of work opportunities for women in some countries. I heard that women’s job opportunities have increased than before, but women still have to do house work because of traditional idea and women will be more burden than men. I understood that is called gender inequality. However, I felt gender inequality cannot be said from only that point. This is because the meaning of the inequality is different in each countries’ situation, and I wondered ‘what does gender inequality mean in Japan?’ When it comes to say gender inequality, the premise that women are responsible for taking care of children and doing house work always seems to be rooted in Japanese Society. I think that premise is only women’s side. For a long time, while women have been thought as domestic worker, men have been thought that they have heavy responsibility for work to support whole members of family. The number of men who commit suicide is higher than that of women because of pressure of work. Also, if men want to do care work, it is difficult to do because support system from government and companies is not enough. In my opinion, there is not only inequality of burden for women but also inequality of care work opportunities or pressure working for men, but Japan has seems to highlight women as a most part of gender inequality to date.

Today, Japan society faces difficult situation because Japan regarded gender inequality as women’s side inequality, I think. Recently, women’s job opportunities have increased by gender equality movement, but at the same time, married couples have difficulty in keeping life balance. there are few opportunities to do care work for men because Japan didn’t think gender inequality from men side. Therefore, women can’t ask men to do house work while men have no choice to work at companies and they can’t help care work. When we improve gender equality, the important thing is to keep life work balance so that married couple can keep good relationships. I realized that even if some movements or measures for the inequality are made, if these actions are composed of only one side view point, it will just create ‘time squeeze’ I learned in my class, Thus, my opinion is that when Japan takes some actions for improving equality, Japan society should think gender inequality from both women and men sides.

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