Sophia Magazine vol.1 / SUMMER 2015

14policies, picked ve women for his cabinet, a record high, in the reshufing of 2013. However, two of them were forced to resign soon after taking ofce. As for the remaining three, Professor Miura notes that “due in part to consideration given to supporters, many of whom are conservative men, their rather passive comments about women’s advancement in society stand out.” As it turns out, it is safe to say that not only the contradiction of the current administration’s policy for women but also the height of the glass ceiling that women in Japanese politics face is reinforced. Why is it important to urge women to participate in poli-tics? According to Professor Miura, the current state where there is a wide gap in the ratio between men and women in Parlia-ments compared with that in the general population runs counter to the principle of democracy where diverse views and opinions should be reected equally. “What is more, we can expect current policy to be changed and its quality to be enhanced by adding the perspective of women.” In fact, she says that signicantly positive effects have been reported for policies associated with women’s physical experiences in particular, such as countermeasures against violence to-wards women or the falling birthrate. The percentage of elected female lawmakers accounted for no more than 9.5% of the total in the Lower House election at the end of 2014. This number is the lowest among de-veloped nations and way below the global average of 22%.“The situation where women face difculty in playing a role in politics per se is globally common. The biggest reason lies in gender stereotypes, the traditions and general ex-pectations of the way males and females should behave,” Professor Miura points out. Political work is not supposed to be suitable for women; they are highly likely to suffer from a handicap as they face a lack of understanding, and opposition or resistance by those around them, including their husbands, when running for a seat in government. For this reason, many countries have taken positive measures, including the introduction of a quota system in which a certain percentage of seats and candidates are allocated to women, in a bid to com-pensate for their disadvantages and increase equality. “In Japan, however, the public tendency still remains, even among female lawmakers, to oppose to such measures on the grounds that it is women-centric reverse discrimination against men,” she adds. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had set forth the creation of “a society where women can shine” as one of his key Frustrated Gender-EqualPolitics in JapanAn Environment Where Women canBehave as Women is RequiredResearch

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