In the last few years, the Japanese government has been trying to increase the share of women in the workforce, in general, and in leadership positions, more specifically. This focus underscores the vital importance of women to the future of both the labor force and economy. Concurrent to this push for greater workforce equality, women organizations across Japan have also pushed for reforming gender norms and expectations both at home and in the workplace.
Despite the enormous attention that has been paid to these issues, there is little data about how Japanese residents think about them. In February, we fielded a survey with a national sample of 2,389 Japanese residents to address this problem. In one part of the survey, we asked men and women to tell us how much they supported female equality in the workplace, the #MeToo movement, and feminism. Specifically, we asked them to rate their support on a 0-100 point scale, where higher values indicate more support.
The data provide a set of rich findings about Japanese views on gender issues. To begin with, there are no obvious differences in the extent to which men and women support female equality in the workplace. On average, men rated their level of support at 76.69/100. Perhaps surprisingly, though, this is not substantively or statistically different from women’s level of support (i.e., 75.89/100). If anything, men are more supportive of female equality in the workplace. At least in this one area of gender relations, Japanese men and women initially seem to see basically eye-to-eye.