Regarding the Dec. 9 editorial “Gender parity task force“: On the basis of the results of similar initiatives to date, the prognosis for any meaningful results ever arising from the “task force” is dim at best. Why has Japan waited so long to even acknowledge the obvious gender disparity blatant in every aspect of society? And why do embarrassment and the economic well-being of the country have to be the main stimuli for beginning to think about it?

The Tokugawa feudal system ended hundreds of years ago, but the enlightened Meiji Era merely extended the confinement of Japanese women to the equivalent of the Gender Dark Ages.

Will those business and social leaders in the task force have the clout to make a difference or the motives to do anything constructive? Aren’t these the same people who have built, and guarded with their lives, the same bulletproof glass ceiling that has long kept Japanese women below them in the workforce?

The principles of the task force should be rethought. It is not because of an economic downturn that women should be given equal opportunities and rights in the labor market, but rather because of their entitlement to these rights as people. If these paramount objectives are not at the forefront of the task force’s raison d’etre, it will do nothing more than re-cement the status quo that makes Japan the gender-parity laughingstock of the world.

With a new election Sunday, most of the candidates male, and stronger candidates like former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto self-declared chauvinists, perhaps the task force won’t last long anyway. There’s also the meta-culture of an imperial system that … seems to disavow the existence of women as equals.

david wood
chikushino, fukuoka

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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