Endemic discrimination against Japanese women: part 1 of 2

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goo Research, along with Yomiuri Weekly, carried out a massive poll amongst working women. For a week at the end of September this year, over 10,000 working women aged 20 and over completed an internet-based questionnaire on their thoughts and opinions. Twenty years ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was passed, so this is an investigation into how the position of working women has changed.

It’s quite a depressing set of figures, I feel. Not just discrimination, but harassment seems endemic amongst firms, and women are so used to it that they perhaps don’t consider the everyday discrimination as abuse. On a more positive note, however, almost half the women want to have the opportunity to have a full career not terminated nor even just punctuated by baby-rearing, although I personally consider that a child during the first three years of life needs one full-time parent.

Note that here almost three in five report being touched up, which is very depressingly high, but sexist language is barely half that, which suggests to me that women on the whole are accepting of, or at least inured to, that sort of behaviour.

I also wonder how much under-reporting has happened – note that in Q1 people report that they were expected to do the woman’s work around the office, yet there seems no specific category for this type of harassment. Also, office parties are notorious for the boss getting drunk (or faking drunk) and pestering his female underlings, but perhaps this is seen as outside the work environment thus not job-related harassment?

First, the basic demographics of the participants.

Age

20 to 29 30.5%
30 to 39 45.8%
40 to 49 19.5%
50 or over 4.3%

Marital status

Married 49.5%
Unmarried 43.4%
Separated/divorced 6.6%
Widowed 0.4%

Employment status

Civil servant or non-profit organisation 5.1%
Office worker 29.1%
Sales 4.1%
Technical or specialist 10.9%
Other company employee 3.8%
Education 2.6%
Health service (doctor, nurse, etc) 1.9%
Lawyer, accountant, taxation 0.1%
Part time, casual labour 25.6%
Self-employed 5.3%
Housewife with side job 5.6%
Full-time housewife 0.0%
Student 0.0%
Unemployed 0.0%
Other 2.9%

Remember, the survey is trying to find out the views of the working woman, which is why the housewife, student, and unemployed groups are zero!

Q1: Regarding the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, what sort of influence do they have on your working life? (Sample size=10,042)

Immensely easier on working life 1.4%
A little easier on working life 11.4%
No change to working life 62.7%
A little harder on working life 1.9%
Immensely harder on working life 1.1%
Don’t know 21.5%

As for reasons for these answers, one popular one was that woman’s work had increased; although normal tasks were perhaps split fairly, there was still the “woman’s work” of making the tea and taking copies, etc in addition. Other negative or neutral opinions included that promotion is still men-only and young women are just smiling faces to be shunted off behind the scenes once they are over the hill. Positive views included sexual harassment had decreased, awareness seminars at work had been established, and the law had opened doors for women.

Q2: How much was your income last year, and how much do you want to be paid for your current job? (Sample size=10,042)

  Last year Desired
Up to 1,000,000 yen 20.8% 6.3%
1,000,000 to 2,000,000 yen 20.4% 9.7%
2,000,000 to 3,000,000 yen 22.3% 12.8%
3,000,000 to 4,000,000 yen 17.8% 16.9%
4,000,000 to 5,000,000 yen 9.3% 17.0%
5,000,000 to 7,000,000 yen 6.5% 15.8%
7,000,000 to 10,000,000 yen 2.2% 9.7%
10,000,000 to 20,000,000 yen 0.7% 6.0%
Over 20,000,000 yen 0.1% 2.7%
I don’t think I want to raise it 3.3%

Q3: Compared to men the same age doing a similar job, what percentage of their salary do you think you are being paid? (Sample size=10,042)

Less than half 13.7%
60% to 70% 21.1%
80% to 90% 11.0%
Roughly the same 27.9%
More than men 1.5%
Other 3.8%
Don’t know 21.0%

Q4: Which of the following is the best way for women to work? (Sample size=10,042)

Even if they have children, they can continue to work 46.2%
Quit when they have children, then resume once the children are older 29.9%
Work only until they have children 6.3%
Work only until they get married 3.0%
Women should not work 0.4%
Other 8.8%
Don’t know 5.5%

Q5: Have you ever been sexually harassed at work? (Sample size=10,042)

Yes (to SQ) 35.6%
No 64.4%

Q5SQ: What sort of sexual harassment have you suffered? (Sample size=3,578)

Object of dirty jokes or sexual banter 64.4%
Touched up 59.7%
Asked if I had a boyfriend or other unnecessary questions on private life 33.2%
Invited for a meal or a date 33.0%
“Typical of a woman” and other sexist language 30.6%
Sexual proximity 16.0%
Object of malicious rumours being spread 14.7%
Nude posters, photos, screensavers or movies, etc in public areas 7.4%
Other 6.4%

I wonder if “leering” falls under the category of “sexual proximity”?

[part 1] [part 2]

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1 Comment »

  1. February 8, 2011 @ 10:47

    The last part about sekuhara is astonishing to me, I knew it was an issue but this is far more than I had thought!

    I wonder, why do so many victims stay quiet in Japan?
    Even women groped in the train keep their mouths shut, what is up with that?!

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