Tokyo is planning to improve working conditions for women after Burmese opposition politician and activist Aung San Suu Kyi paid a visit to Japan at the middle of April, for the first time in 27 years. During her visit, Suu Kyi “embarrassed” her Japanese hosts by mentioning that gender gap in Japan is far more pronounced than in Myanmar.
“I have to say gender discrimination [in Myanmar] is not as great as it is in this country… Research and statistics show Japan and South Korea have some of the greatest gender differences in the world today,” she said during a lecture at Kyoto University.
“If it is true that the gender gap is largely economic in nature, why is it that the greatest gender gaps in the world exist in Japan and South Korea?” she asked, according to the international press. “It is not just economic factors; it is social values as well.”
Japan is placed as the 122nd in the world when it comes to the number of women involved in politics, on the same place as Botswana, with 81 women in the 716 seats in the two houses of the national parliament.
As for the earnings’ disadvantage, recent studies show that from all of the developed countries, working mothers in Japan face the biggest difference in pay compared to their male counterparts. They are also pressured to stay home and be a housewife instead of having a career.
Also, a Japanese working mother’s median salary is 61 percent lower than of a Japanese working father, according to a report made by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at the end of December.
Tokyo’s measures will include building more day care centers and giving new parents – both men and women – extended child care leave.
“Many women are still forced to make a choice between raising a child and leaving their job,” Shinzo Abe said on the topic. “We will create a society where excellent workers will be able to play active roles.”