An advanced society in so many ways, Japan lags far behind on gender equality compared to other industrialized nations and its Asian neighbours. The country sits in 120th place out of 153 countries with a gender equality gap of 34.4%, according to the World Economic Forum.
A lack of political empowerment and economic participation/opportunity are the key issues for Japan. Women earn only 44% of what men do at work and have little decision-making authority in business or politics. Progress on gender equality continues to fall vastly short of the Japanese government’s stated intentions.
So, where is the outrage? We found that Japanese people are the least likely of 27 countries surveyed to agree that “achieving gender equality is important to me personally”. It does not even appear to be a top priority for women – only 41% agree, vs. 31% of men.
In Japan, gender differences are considered natural and necessary. Many factors including issue framing, the cultural context, and social and institutional influences reinforce current practices and limit ideas of what men and women can do and be.
Enabling the whole population to achieve their full potential in a more gender-equal society can unleash enormous benefits for Japan; economically, societally, and individually. Especially when navigating the challenges of demographic, economic, technological, and geopolitical change.
This article explores how, in its approach to gender equality, by favouring the status quo (“the devil you know”) Japan is choosing to shrink rather than change, while creating missed opportunities for the country and its people.
Read more in: The Devil You Know.
This chapter forms the first part of an ongoing Flair project in Japan.
The Ipsos Flair collection explores the social, economic, and political context in a selection of countries around the world. With passion and curiosity, our local experts capture the mood of the nation and transform survey results into inspiring insights for decision-makers. With editions in Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, Mexico, Peru, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, you can explore a range of local perspectives on key topics facing the world today. Read more here.