Gender in Japan Series Why Gender Inequality in Japan is Alive and Well

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 | 9:00 - 10:00 (JST)
Zoom Webinar
  • Mary C. Brinton Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
Event Description

Japan ranks very low on every measure of gender equality used by the OECD and other international organizations, including the yearly “gender gap index” published by the World Economic Forum. In 2006, the first year the index was published, Japan ranked 79 out of 115 countries in gender equality. Fifteen years later, Japan’s relative position had declined to 120 out of 156. Standardized across years, the country’s ranking declined from 69 out of 100 in 2006 to 77 in 2021. This latest ranking puts Japan’s level of gender equality below that of many less-wealthy countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Why has Japan’s high level of gender inequality shown such stubborn persistence over time? In this talk I examine the misguided policy attempts to “make women shine” and argue for the importance of a paradigm shift in the analysis of Japanese gender inequality.