Daily Management Review

Why Japan's "womenomics" doesn't have a chance


05/25/2017


Japan takes gender equality or inequality very seriously. Although this, of course, is not the main problem of the country now. Nevertheless, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presented "womenomics" as his progressive policy on raising the status of women.



Byron Villegas via flickr
Byron Villegas via flickr
When he launched his program for the restoration of women's rights in Japan, he recognized that Japanese society is unequal, and women there are far from endowed with full-fledged "powers" in many cases. However, this policy completely failed. According to the Global Gender Gap report published last year, Abe has only widened the gulf between men and women, and Japan now ranks 111th in the World Economic Forum's ranking on gender inequality. Compared to 2015, this implies a drop of 10 points at once.

First of all, the problem lies in the general legislation, including the criminal code, where in fact there is almost no protection for Japanese women from sexual crimes, the Japan Subculture Research Center writes. And Abe could easily fix everything, but instead he focused on adopting a bill on conspiracies, which, as the UN warns, could undermine civil liberties.

Some experts argue that Abe's womenomics has never pursued the goal of raising the status of women in Japan, since this is not required from an economic point of view. Moreover, in the long term, the Japanese authorities have no sense in improving the situation of potential mothers, including single mothers, 50% of whom now live in poverty according to official data.

The current Minister for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Katsunobu Kato previously was responsible for trying to limit the birth rate at the state level. Quite a strange choice of an official to fight for women's rights, given his past experience.

In this case, Shinzo Abe often uses the womenomics term only when he talks about his achievements and plans. He promises to eliminate the priority lists of parental leave, attract more women to work, in order to compensate for the effect of aging and the decline in the population of Japan. In addition, by 2020, women will have to occupy 30% of senior positions in all areas.

It sounds good, but nothing has changed over the years of promises. Currently, women take care of the child in 80% of cases, and queues to admission to the kindergarten are so long that such leave means unemployment. And if you lose your job, it will be very difficult to find it afterwards.

At the same time, the population growth in Japan is already negative. The proportion of the elderly population (over 65 years) continues to grow actively, and the economically active population is declining in both percentage and absolute terms. In 1995, the number of people of working age was 87 million, which was the peak. Now their number has dropped to 76 million people, and by 2065 can be reduced to 45 million people.

The point of demographic change in Japan was passed as early as the beginning of the 1970s, and since then the impact of slowing the growth in the proportion of the able-bodied population has been reflected in economic data. In 1950-1973, economic growth rates averaged 9.3%, then the number fell to 3.4% in 1973-1970. And the overall contribution of performance factors fell from 5.4% to 0.9%, calculated Morgan Stanley.

In such a situation, the involvement of women in the labor market will not help very much, and, apparently, Abe and his government should now, on the contrary, stimulate fertility. Perhaps this is what actually causes refusal of the womenomics, but the authorities prefer to keep silent about it.

source: zerohedge.com






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