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feminism in the japanese office





Before reading, please watch this YouTube video first (unfortunately, it's only in Japanese).

Facebookやインスタグラムの広告で、すでにみたことあった人もいる?これはヘアケアブランドで知られるLuxが行っている「True Numbers」というキャンペーンで紹介されているムービー。日本の男女格差についての動画なんだけど、みんなはこれをみてどう感じた?女性の社会進出が進んでいないってことについて「数字」に焦点を当てて作られていて、そのメッセージを受け取って、この問題について考えた人もいるかな。でも実はこの動画、批判的な意見がすごく多くて私は気になってたの。

You may have already seen the ads on Instagram or Facebook in Japan, but for those of you who may not be aware, there's an advertisement called "True Numbers" going around by the haircare brand Lux. They released this video as part of the campaign.

They had a little exhibition in Tokyo about "True Numbers" with Japanese female artists. In the video, they show the various numbers of the gender gap in Japan and shared what people think of from looking at those numbers. I thought this video made many people think about our gender gap. However, there were so many critical comments on the ads. I've been wondering why this is the case. What do you think of the gender gap in Japan? What about in your country? Do you know about "The Global Gender Gap Report"?

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 shows Japan is ranked 111/144

In 2017, Japan is ranked 114/144


They post similar videos and photos on their Instagram and most of the comments were very critical (sadly it's all removed), and many of the comments said "it's obvious to have gender gap." For example, 3.4% are female employees in a public-listed company in Japan. The campaign was asking us whether we "are okay with this?" Many of those who were opposed to this campaign said, "women get married, get pregnant and resign from their jobs, so it's obvious that female employees are of less value than men."


I'm a really normal office worker, and 40% of the employees are female where I work. Some of them are even managers, but obviously those who became managers are the ones who worked longer than the other men. Many women get married, maternity leave, or quit so that's why females are less in our office.


There are many women who says this as they quit their job, "I want to spend more time with my children," or "I have to do home chores." They quit because they wanted to. So, the opposition of the campaign says the same thing and "gender equality is just gaining rights for women." Obviously, many of my girl friends say "I want to be a housewife" and maybe you're thinking the same. I think we should see the numbers of people who HAD TO quit their job.


I think wanting to have a family and not giving up their career are the same for men too. As I grew up, I started understanding more that it's not easy to work and raise kids at the same time without help from others. Families have to support each other and it's not a job for only woman. That's not their only responsibility. In Japan, there are many couples who want to continue their jobs but the person or their partner has to quit their job to offer support at home. Of course, there are so many ways of working so I really can't say this for all jobs and career paths, but this is one of the biggest concerns when you decide to get married with someone when you have a career of your own. I wonder how many women had to give up their job and had to become a housewife?


I feel like most honeyhands readers are students and maybe some of you guys are married and have a child. If you have a partner who wants to build a family together in the future, you will face this issue. And how do you decide the best choice for yourself and your partner? Of course, the way about this is talking to each other. Obviously, most of you hope your partner will understand you and respect each others' opinions. For example, you have a husband and you want to work so he can be a househusband. But "househusband" has not become quite as popular yet in Japan. Maybe some people would still think that it's embarrassing to have a househusband.


I really hope society changes and we don't have to care about others and respect yourself and your partner's opinion. How can we make it possible? People who want to continue working should be working and people who want to take a break should take a break. It's very simple, but there's a gender norm we've built up. We're living in a society where people still think women should be at home so many women may tend to feel unsupported. How can we change this society to where both women and men can pick what we want without judgement? How can Japan be better?

Photo by Pang

Illustrations by Lola Rose

English Translated by Hikari

English Edited by Lisa

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