Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hey everyone! So some people were concerned with my last video because I talked about how easy I've personally had it in Japan as a foreign woman. And those are just my personal experiences; I don't mean to make any generalizations. But in order to give a different viewpoint on women in Japan today I'm going to talk about gender equality. Now obviously I'm not going to have time to go over every single detail on this subject. You could write books about any number of the issues that I'm gonna go over today. So there's no possible way I could cover everything. So this is just meant to be an introduction. Please feel free to add your own comments if you feel like I left anything important out but keep in mind that I'm not leaving out any information to promote any sort of agenda or because I haven't done very much research or anything like that. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report in 2012, Japan ranked 101 out of 135 ranked countries. That means there are 100 countries that were determined to have fewer gender-based disparities than Japan. Now, this score is based on four factors: economic participation and opportunity (which is essentially Japanese women in the workplace), educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. If you read through the report I've linked to it breaks down exactly how each of these factors are calculated. As expected, Japan does really well in educational attainment and health and survival. The scores that hurt Japan the most are the ones related to women in the work place. It's well-known that Japanese women don't have the same job opportunities as men in Japan. The number one reason I hear about this is because Japanese women themselves don't actually WANT to work. But this is not true. In 2012 the Japanese government polled married women with children and they received 12,289 valid responses. And of those responses, 86% of Japanese women want to work. So what's holding them back? Aside from just the expected difficulties of re-entering a workforce after taking a period of leave to raise a child or something like that, in order to work full time Japanese women have to be able to put in the same long hours that Japanese men work. And if you're not familiar with the Japanese work system, it's not uncommon to have to work 12 or more hours a day. In fact, 20% of men in their 30s and 40s work more than 60 hours a week. With both parents working so much there's just not enough time to take care of the household and run daily errands, and there also aren't enough daycares available in Japan to watch children during the day. Right now there are 25,000 Japanese children on wait-lists for entry into subsidized daycares. One bright outlook is that the Japanese government is planning on opening 200,000 daycares within the next couple years. But this isn't something that only women are affected by. Right now it's not really acceptable for Japanese men to be stay-at-home dads yet. There is intense pressure on Japanese men to be the supporter of the family. They are raised from such a young age to believe that that is their sole duty in life, is to get a job and raise a family. And that if they can't do this then they're a failure. For example, my husband Jun doesn't care about how much money I make—I could make nothing or I could make three times what he does and he wouldn't care at all. All he cares about is that he makes enough money to support both of us regardless of what I make. I can see on a daily basis how much stress he is under going through the job hunting process, and there's nothing I can do to convince him that it would be okay to rely solely on me. And this role that Japanese men are put into from such a young age makes it extremely difficult for them to be stay-at-home dads. Of course this is something that men face everywhere, but this is something you can still be disowned for in Japan. The fact is it just isn't socially acceptable yet to be a stay-at-home dad. And while Japanese men currently only spend about an hour a day on housework and childcare, in order to really increase that they would have to spend less time at work, which could cause trouble when it comes to things like job security or promotions. The same issue arises with taking childcare leave. Japanese men still take almost none. But the Japanese government has been trying to change the social stigma of men raising children through something called the IKUMEN Project, which was created in 2010. IKU is taken from the kanji IKUJI, which means childcare. It also sounds similar to the word IKEMEN, which is widely used slang for a good-looking, cool man. The IKUMEN Project encourages men to take more of an active role in childcare, and provides resources and role models to help men develop their parenting skills. One of the other big issues is that women feel discriminated against in the workplace. Currently only 15% of assistant managers in Japan are women. And when you reach the higher level of general manager, that number drops to 5%. Japan is also the second worst OECD country when it comes to the gender gap on wages. A 2009 public survey from the Japanese cabinet office shows that 64.5% of men and 77.7% of women believe that men are given preferential treatment in society. A study on Japanese working women from the Center for Work-Life Policy found that 68% of Japanese women preferred to work at a multinational company since they were believed to be more women friendly. Another survey from the cabinet office in 2009 shows how Japanese men and women feel about the stereotype that the husband is expected to work while the wife is expected to take on domestic duties. 45% of Japanese men in 2009 still agreed with that, while 51.1% disagreed. That's compared to 37.3% of women who agreed and 58.6 who disagreed. And this is of course a big improvement from 30 years ago where 72.6% of Japanese people agreed. I believe a lot of Westerners will look at that and be surprised that so many Japanese people still feel that way, but I think you should also look at the other side and consider that now more than half of the population disagrees that women should have to stay at home while men work. And of course people become more open with every generation, so it's less likely that younger Japanese people would share that opinion. For one example, my husband does all our cooking, he rarely ever asks me to help out with household chores, he's always attentive to my needs, and he always treats me with absolute respect and as his equal. There has never been a case in our relationship where he has ever said anything like, "Well, this is the decision that I'm making and that's final!" So I don't want people to go alarmist and view Japan as this terrible, sexist place where all Japanese men are sexist pigs or something like that, because that's not true. People are individuals and you can't apply statistical data to individuals. There will be good people and bad people according to your personal definition of good and bad in any country. So I hope as brief as this was it gave you a little bit of an introduction into some of the gender issues that Japan is facing right now. It's obviously not all-inclusive, so I highly encourage you to do your own research before making any sort of judgments. I've included all of my sources in the description down below and of course if you just google any number of these issues you'll find a ton of results, so there's a lot out there for you to read from. Thanks for watching guys! Bye!