Is There Gender Inequality in Japan?

June 27th, 2013By Category: Uncategorized

Is There Gender Inequality in Japan?
日本は男女不平等ですか?

[From January Issue 2013]

201301-1

The World Economic Forum has published its “Global Gender Gap Index” for 2012. This index evaluates the gender gap in four fields: political empowerment, economic participation, health, and educational attainment. The nation with the best score for gender equality was Iceland, followed by Finland and Norway. The highest ranking countries were Northern European. Japan was ranked 101st out of 135 nations.

世界経済フォーラムは2012年「世界男女格差報告」を発表しました。これは、政治、経済、健康、教育の4分野で男女格差の度合いを評価したものです。最高得点の国はアイスランド、以下フィンランド、ノルウェーと続きます。上位を占めた国は北欧でした。日本は135ヵ国中、101位でした。

The report points out that although the standard of education for women is high, there are few female members of congress or corporate executives in Japan. According to Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), Norway has the best ratio of female corporate executives, at 44%, while Japan came 38th with 1.4%. Out of the 42 nations surveyed, only the Gulf nations came lower than Japan.

報告は、日本では女性の教育レベルが高いにもかかわらず、女性議員や企業の幹部が少ないことを指摘しています。国際女性経営幹部協会(CWDI)などの調査によると、女性の企業幹部の割合はノルウェーが44%で最も高く、日本はわずか1.4%で、38位です。調査国42ヵ国中、日本より低いのは湾岸諸国だけです。

In addition, figures published in the Economist in 2011, showed that only 11.3% of members of congress were female in Japan. Though the number of female members is increasing, Japan has one of the lowest ratios of females in national congress in the world. Taking these figures into account, non-Japanese may think Japanese women are badly treated in Japanese society.

一方、2011年の「エコノミスト」で発表された数字は、日本の議員のわずか11.3%が女性であることを示しています。女性議員の数は増えていますが、日本は世界の中で女性国会議員の割合が最も低い国の一つです。これらの数字だけを見ると、外国人は日本の女性は日本社会でしいたげられていると思うかもしれません。

However, in the USA women make up 16.8% of members of congress and in France 18.9%, which is less than the 19.3% global average. For an advanced country Japan does not have a particularly low proportion of female members to male menbers in power. In Japan there are no obstacles for women becoming members of the Diet. It’s thought that the reason there are so few female corporate executives is largely related to Japanese culture.

しかし、アメリカでは女性国会議員は16.8%、フランスは18.9%で、世界平均の19.3%以下です。先進国における男性議員に対する女性議員の割合は日本だけが特別に低いわけではありません。日本では女性が国会議員になるための障害はありません。女性企業幹部が少ないのは、日本文化と大きなかかわりがあるように思われます。

A culture which traditionally divides labor with men working outside the home and woman bringing up children, is deeply rooted in Japan. In other words, women mainly prepare meals and raise children at home, but are actually the ones with the most power. Husbands generally give all their salary to their wife, who manages the family budget.

日本には男は外で働き、女は子育てをするという伝統的に仕事を分担する文化が根強くあります。つまり、家庭では妻が主に食事の支度や子育てをしますが、実権を握っています。夫は妻に給料を渡し、妻が家庭をやりくりします。

201301-2

It seems that this tradition makes corporations reluctant to promote women to executive positions, while conversely women are not that keen to become executives themselves. In recent years the idea that women lead happier lives than men is gaining ground in Japan. According to a survey into birth trends by the Ministry of Welfare and Labor, since 1997, the majority of women want to give birth to girls. In the 2012 London Olympics, more female athletes participated than male athletes. Opportunities for women to take a leading role are continuing to grow.

このような文化は、企業に女性を幹部に昇進させづらくし、逆に女性は幹部になるのを積極的に望んではいないようです。近年、日本では女性の方が男性より幸せに暮らせるとの見方が増えています。厚生労働省の出生動向調査によると、1997年以来半数を超える女性は女の子を望んでいます。2012年のロンドンオリンピックでは、男性より女性選手の方が多く参加しました。女性が主役の分野は広がり続けています。

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