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Japan, France weigh ways to boost female empowerment

JIJI

Lawmakers and experts from Japan and France on Thursday discussed measures to help more and more women play active roles in society.

In the debate, held at the National Assembly, the lower chamber of France’s parliament, in Paris, seven participants, including former Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, exchanged views on factors that prohibit women from actively engaging society and how to break the barriers.

It was reported that 26 percent of lawmakers in France are women, while the proportion of women among members of the Diet stands at only 9 percent.

Koike said Japan is lagging 10 years behind France, calling on Japanese political parties to increase female candidates in parliamentary elections with a strong will.

Meanwhile, a French participant noted that most key posts in the French parliament are still held by men although the number of female lawmakers has increased.

The debate was hosted by groups including a Japanese parliamentarians’ league promoting friendship with France, for which Koike serves as acting chair.

Among the participants other than Koike were Chikako Sekine, an official at major Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. , Pascale Got, chair of a French parliamentarians’ league for friendship with Japan, and Pascale Boistard, French minister of state for women’s rights.