U.N. chief for female empowerment, equality takes lowly ranked Japan to task

Kyodo

The head of the U.N. entity for promoting gender equality is calling on Japan to make more efforts to increase women’s political and economic participation.

“Active participation of women on equal terms with men at all levels of decision-making is essential to achieving equality, sustainable development, peace and democracy,” ex-Chilean President Michel Bachelet, executive director of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, said in a Tuesday lecture hosted by the government.

Citing the low ratio of women among Diet lawmakers, at 13.4 percent, compared with its international peers and the country’s lowly ranked gender gap in a recent study by the World Economic Forum, Bachelet urged Tokyo to take unconventional, aggressive strides in promoting gender equality.

The former president of Chile said conventional legislative steps would take too long and are not always effective in truly achieving equality “in a society (in which) men and women are not standing at the same level. Equality is not just about voting but electing (women to office) as well.”