Japanese Women Today

Japan ranked 104th out of 142 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, finishing behind the majority of developed nations. While political and economic advancement for women remain at a standstill, increasing nonregular employment and a greater number of single mothers mean that inequality is on the rise. This series examines the range of factors that hold Japanese women back from achieving their potential.

The Birth of Culinary Experts and the Evolving Needs of Japanese HousewivesAko Mari

The early twentieth century saw the rise of the fulltime housewife in Japan, which was paralleled by the emergence of culinary experts offering them advice. Social changes in the ensuing years have seen the roles of women and culinary experts change. This article takes a look at those changes leading up to the present day.
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Role Playing: Persona Building and Female Stars of Japanese PornographySuzuki Suzumi

Sociologist Suzuki Suzumi explores the complex relationship of mutual exploitation between Japan’s “AV actresses” and their male audience.
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The All Japan Obachan Party: A Political Voice for Middle-Aged WomenTaniguchi Mayumi

Seventy years after women’s suffrage was first recognized in Japan, the number of female representatives in Japan’s National Diet is still stuck in the doldrums. Here Taniguchi Mayumi introduces the “second women’s suffrage movement” launched by obachan (middle-aged women), who have raised the flag of revolution against their male ossan counterparts through the new medium of Facebook.
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The Plight of Japan’s Single MothersAkaishi Chieko

The number of single mothers in Japan is on the rise, and half of all fatherless families fall below the poverty line. Akaishi Chieko shines a light on a segment of Japanese society in which the old problem of gender discrimination converges with the new problem of growing poverty and income inequality.
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Japanese Women Face Tough Reality in Work and MarriageKawaguchi Akira

Despite much-trumpeted policies aiming to encourage female participation in the workforce, Japanese women must contend with both an economic gender gap and the gap between their aspirations and the reality for careers and marriage. Gender studies specialist Kawaguchi Akira assembles a range of data to analyze the situation for women in Japan today.
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