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Why does Japan have low gender equality?


Gender inequality is a significant issue in Japan, where women face discrimination in various aspects of life, such as job opportunities, pay scales, and political representation. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the reasons behind Japan’s low gender equality score and how this problem affects the country’s social and economic status.

Traditional Gender Roles

Japan has a deeply ingrained culture that values traditional gender roles, where men are expected to work outside the home and women are responsible for housework and child-rearing. This mentality has resulted in women being underrepresented in leadership positions in both the private and public sectors.

Japanese Snack Box

Lack of Childcare Facilities

The lack of affordable childcare facilities is a significant factor that hinders women’s participation in the workforce. Women are often forced to choose between their career and family, which limits their opportunities for growth and advancement.

Gender-Based Violence

Japan has one of the lowest rates of gender-based violence in the world. However, it remains an issue that needs to be addressed. Many women do not report incidents of violence or harassment because they fear retaliation or stigma.

Misogynistic Media

The media in Japan often portrays women as subservient and objectifies them through advertising, television shows, and manga. This portrayal reinforces traditional gender roles and perpetuates harmful stereotypes about women.

Male-Dominated Politics

Japan has one of the lowest proportions of female politicians among developed countries. The country ranks 158th out of 190 countries in terms of female representation in the national parliament. This lack of representation limits women’s voices in policy-making decisions.

Patriarchal Corporate Culture

The corporate culture in Japan is notoriously patriarchal, with long working hours and minimal work-life balance. This environment makes it difficult for women to advance their careers while maintaining their family responsibilities.

Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is prevalent in Japan, with women earning only 73% of what men earn for equivalent work. This disparity is partly due to the belief that men are the primary breadwinners and that women’s salaries are secondary.

Sexualization of Schoolgirls

The phenomenon known as “JK business,” where adult men pay teenage girls for companionship and sometimes sexual favors, is a disturbing trend in Japan. This practice perpetuates the objectification of young girls and normalizes predatory behavior towards them.

Lack of Maternity Leave

Japan offers a generous maternity leave policy, but many women do not take advantage of it due to societal pressure and concerns about job security. The lack of paternity leave also reinforces traditional gender roles by placing the burden of childcare solely on women.

Resistance to Change

Japans’ traditional culture has made it difficult for gender equality initiatives to gain traction. The resistance to change comes from both men and women who have grown up with traditional gender roles ingrained in their societal norms.

Solutions for Gender Equality

To address gender inequality, Japan must take steps to change its cultural mindset towards traditional gender roles. This includes implementing policies that promote equal opportunities for both genders in education, employment, and politics. Additionally, increasing access to affordable childcare facilities, addressing gender-based violence, and promoting work-life balance can help close the gender gap in Japan.


The issue of gender equality is complex and deeply rooted in Japanese culture. It will take time and effort from both men and women to change societal norms and promote equal opportunities for all genders. However, by taking steps towards achieving gender equality, Japan can improve its social progress and economic growth while creating a more equitable society for future generations.

Is gender equality in Japan low?

Gender disparity is a chronic problem for Japan — it ranked 116th out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Gender Gap Report and is the lowest ranking, by far, among G-7 nations.Jan 25, 2023

Why is there gender inequality in Japan?

In Japan, gender-based inequality affects different areas of social life, including family and political representation, and has a significant impact on employment, education, and income. This inequality is due to traditional and modern gender roles in Japanese society.

How much gender inequality in Japan?

As of 2022, Japan had an average gender gap of around 35 percent, with an overall gender gap index score of 0.65 points. This ranking placed them 116th out of 146 nations included in the global gender gap index, making them significantly behind other G7 countries. This data was reported on February 3rd, 2023.

Why does Japan rank so low in gender equality?

Japan’s low GGI ranking can be attributed to the fact that women in the country hold lower status positions in the workforce and are underrepresented in politics. Despite having a higher percentage of women in the workforce compared to the OECD average, over 50% of employed Japanese women are in non-regular roles.

How do Japanese view gender roles?

Japan has a culture that values conservatism and group harmony, which can make it difficult for individuals to deviate from traditional social expectations. One of these expectations is gender roles, which have historically placed men in the role of breadwinner and women in the role of homemaker.

Is Japan a more masculine or feminine culture?

The United States, Mexico, China, and Japan are all categorized as having a masculine culture. This means that their societies place a clear distinction on gender roles.

Women’s Empowerment

Empowering women in Japan is crucial to achieving gender equality. This includes providing education and training programs that enable women to enter male-dominated fields, supporting female entrepreneurship, and promoting women’s leadership roles in business and politics.

Breaking Stereotypes

Breaking stereotypes about gender roles is essential for achieving gender equality in Japan. It is important to challenge negative attitudes towards women in media, advertising, and popular culture. This can be achieved by promoting positive images of women as strong, capable, and successful.

Male Engagement

Engaging men in the conversation on gender equality is essential for achieving social change. Men need to be part of the solution by advocating for women’s rights and challenging negative attitudes towards women. This can be achieved through education and awareness campaigns that involve men in discussions on gender equality.

Inclusive Policies

Creating inclusive policies that address the needs of all genders, including non-binary individuals, is crucial for achieving gender equality. Policies that promote flexible work arrangements, parental leave for both parents, and equal pay for equal work can help close the gender gap and promote a more equitable society.

Youth Involvement

Involving young people in the conversation on gender equality is crucial for promoting social change. Educating youth on the importance of gender equality and empowering them to challenge negative attitudes towards women can create a more equitable society for future generations.

Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural sensitivity is essential when addressing gender inequality in Japan. It is important to understand the cultural context in which traditional gender roles exist and to work within that framework to promote change. This includes engaging with religious leaders, community elders, and other influential figures to promote gender equality.

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