The Japanese government on Wednesday adopted a new set of policies focusing on female empowerment as the country remains one of the lowest among major advanced economies when it comes to gender inequality.
The policies referred to the need to expedite women’s representation in business and political spheres as a matter of urgency due to the current low levels of female representation in those areas.
In senior business roles in Japanese companies, women comprise just 15 percent of the total positions, while the number of female politicians remains low, comprising 10 percent in Japan’s more powerful lower house of parliament and 23 percent in the upper chamber.
The government wants to promote a deeper awareness of Japan’s gender imbalance and urge business bodies to understand the importance of supporting better gender parity in the workplace and particularly in senior position in companies.
The government also wants to look into why such gaping differences have occurred, and regarding women’s low representation in politics, it will investigate existing obstacles to becoming a lawmaker, as well as issues of harassment aimed at female lawmakers and candidates.
According to the World Economic Forum’s gender-gap rankings, in 2019 Japan ranked 121 out of 153 countries and regions, dropping from 110th place a year earlier and earning itself the lowest ranking among major advanced economies.
The government will also review its system of child support payments by divorced fathers, as fathers refusing to pay has been the cause of a number of single mothers slipping below the poverty line.
The government said in making its reviews, it will assess foreign countries’ systems of child support and enforcement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday said the government will “start studying legal amendment to support women in difficult situations.”
According to the latest data, only 24.3 percent of single-mother households in Japan received child support from fathers after divorce.
This is despite women in Japan earning far less than their male counterparts.
Japanese men on average earned 5.45 million yen (50,700 United States dollars) in 2018, compared to women who earned an average of 2.93 million yen (27,200 United States dollars), official figures showed.
The latest policies also include enhanced measures to abolish all forms of violence against women.
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