Global report shows wide pay gaps in Japan, South Korea . . .
Northeast Asia – China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea – is home to one-fifth of the world’s population and comprises a significant proportion of global GDP. But the region still faces substantial gender inequality. Looking at the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 Rankings, China ranks 106 on the list, South Korea ranks 108, and Japan ranks 121. According to OECD data, South Korea has the worst gender pay gap of any OECD country, with women making 33 per cent less than men. Japan is only slightly better, with women earning 24 per cent less than men.
New survey confirms gender-biased society in Japan . . .
Japan has been under increased scrutiny for gender inequality, especially after recent sexist remarks by former President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. A survey released by the Tokyo-based Dentsu Institute confirmed that the increased scrutiny is deserved. The survey found that more than 60 per cent of people in Japan feel their society favours men. Respondents also believe that Japan will not achieve gender equality anytime soon. When asked when women might make up 30 per cent of the country’s parliament, the average estimate was 33.5 years.
Potential for positive change ahead . . .
When survey respondents were asked if Japan should make more efforts in advancing gender equality, 78 per cent answered “yes.” This signals that most Japanese see gender inequality as a problem and want to fix it. Many considered Mori’s replacement by Seiko Hashimoto, a woman, as president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee as a positive step forward in changing patriarchal structures and attitudes. Another positive change comes in workplaces that have adopted hybrid or work-from-home schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing women with more flexible workplace arrangements could help address Japan’s gender wage gap. While gender equality is far from being achieved in Japan, these initiatives are all steps in the right direction.