The mayor of Osaka has come under fire for suggesting men should be the ones doing the grocery shopping during the pandemic because women are indecisive and “take a long time.”
Under the national state of emergency for the coronavirus, residents in some areas have been asked to shop less frequently and to send only one family member out to get supplies to minimize human contact.
Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui told reporters on Thursday that men should be entrusted with grocery runs because women “take a long time as they browse around and hesitate about this and that,” Kyodo news reported.
“Men can snap up things they are told (to buy) and go, so I think it’s good that they go shopping, avoiding human contact,” he added.
When challenged by a reporter, Matsui, 56, acknowledged that his remarks might be viewed as out of touch, but said they were true in his family.
But online he was roundly condemned. One Twitter user said he was “disrespectful to women and men.”
Another said the comment was “full of prejudice against women,” adding “there are indecisive men and nimble and sharp women.”
“Does he think (shoppers) like to take time?” asked a third. “They are thinking about menus and prices.”
But some backed the mayor’s comment.
“That’s right. Elderly women in particular are always chatting away, unconcerned about shopping,” wrote one user.
Despite its highly educated female population, Japan ranked 121 out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 gender gap index, primarily for its poor showing in political representation.
Traditional gender roles are still deeply rooted in Japanese society and women are often still expected to take primary responsibility for childcare and domestic chores, even while holding down jobs.
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