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Let’s discuss Ivanka Trump’s visit to Japan

This week’s featured article

DAISUKE KIKUCHI, THE JAPAN TIMES

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, shared a stage with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a summit in Tokyo on Nov. 3, saying that the world must boost women’s economic power and participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Trump, an informal White House adviser, arrived in Tokyo on Nov. 2 preceding her father’s planned visit on Nov. 5, his first trip to Japan since taking office in January.

Abe, who opened the summit with his own speech, pledged to contribute $50 million (about ¥5.7 billion) to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative championed by Ivanka Trump.

Sometimes glancing at Abe sitting behind her on the stage, Trump praised the prime minister’s efforts to promote women’s participation in the workforce. She said there has been “significant improvement” in Japan in recent decades, adding, “it will continue to grow in great measure due to Prime Minister Abe’s vision for Japan.”

“At the very heart of this vision, Abenomics, is ‘womenomics,’ ” she said during her 15-minute speech at the fourth World Assembly for Women, a Foreign Ministry event.

Abe, who was re-elected as prime minister after his Liberal Democratic Party scored a landslide victory in the Oct. 22 Lower House election, said in his speech that his government is encouraging more women to join the workforce and boost economic growth.

The remarks come as the gender disparity in the Diet remains stark, and only two women hold posts in Abe’s Cabinet.

Through his so-called womenomics policies — which seek to create “a society where women can shine,” Abe said he has “used his efforts to the utmost” on the issues of child care and creating better working environments for women.

The government has made progress by adding 1.5 million women to the workforce, while the employment rate for women in their 20s and 30s has increased by 5 percentage points, he said. However, tens of thousands of children are still on waiting lists to get into publicly certified nursery schools.

In the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap report published Nov. 2, Japan ranked 114 out of 144 — coming in between Guinea and Ethiopia and dropping by 13 to the country’s lowest since 2012, the year Abe was elected as prime minister.

First published in The Japan Times on Nov. 3.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “the superwomen around me.”

Game

Collect words related to woman, e.g., girl, mother, makeup.

New words

1) boost: increase, e.g., “This idea will boost the motivation of younger generations.”

2) pledge: to promise, e.g., “He pledged to keep the secret between them.”

3) utmost: maximum, e.g., “This new bed provides utmost comfort in your sleep.”

Guess the headline

In Tokyo, Ivanka Trump praises Abe’s

‘womeno_ _ _ _’ efforts

Questions

1) What did Mr. Abe promise to Ms. Trump and how did she react to the promise?

2) What is the policy of “womenomics”?

3) How does Japan rank in the world in terms of gender gap?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you think “womenomics” is working in Japan?

2) Do you think the summit of Ms. Trump and Mr. Abe was meaningful?

3) What do you think needs to be done to boost “womenomics”?

Reference

トランプ政権の中で重要なポジションを担う女性の来日により、女性の社会進出について日米間でも意見が交わされました。イヴァンカ・トランプ氏は大統領の娘ということもあり一般的なアメリカ人女性の感覚とは異なる点が多いでしょうが、ジェンダーの壁を なくすことはどの社会においても重要な課題でしょう。しかしながら、日本の社会に対する政府間の評価と世界的な数値には大きな差があるようです。女性の輝く社会の実現は どのようにして成し遂げられ、その効果はどう測られるべきなのでしょうか。

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