Gender Parity Index Puts Japan Near Bottom

Report says world has a long way to go for equality—about 132 years
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2022 5:45 PM CDT
Gender Parity Index Puts Japan Near Bottom
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, officials, and employees offer prayers toward a hearse carrying the remains of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday in Tokyo. The participation rate of women in politics remains low in Japan.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool)

The World Economic Forum's new Gender Gap Report found that Japan compares well with other nations in women's access to education and health. In Japan's political and economic fields, however, women's participation is still low, driving the nation's ranking to 116th among the 146 countries assessed, the Japan Times reports—the worst showing of Group of Seven industrialized nations. "The outcome shows that the situation in Japan lags behind other nations and we must take it humbly," said government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno. Japan has pretty much been at the bottom for years.

The gap is not just an issue in Japan. At this rate, it will be 132 years before global gender parity is reached. The pandemic set the effort back "an entire generation," the report says, and that ground has not been made up during the lukewarm recovery. Before the pandemic hit, the Swiss-based think tank had projected equality would be achieved within 100 years, per the Asahi Shimbun. The report, which has been produced since 2006, considers such factors as the pay gap, education, and the number of female government ministers.

For the 13th straight year, Iceland tops the ranking. It's followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand, and Sweden. The Top 10 also has Rwanda, Nicaragua, Namibia, Ireland, and Germany, which posted its highest ranking. Other G7 countries came in 10th to 27th—where the US sits—except for Italy, which was listed at No. 63. The nations in the Top 5 have women serving as prime minister, except for Norway. Japan has never had a female prime minister, the report points out, and no more than 10% of seats in Parliament and ministerial jobs are held by women. Matsuno said the government is working toward economic independence for women as part of its effort to create "a new form of capitalism." (Read more gender gap stories.)

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