S6_03
Tackling a Conundrum: how can gender equality be achieved in an ageing and shrinking Japan through structural reform?

Convenors:
Hiroko Takeda (Nagoya University)
Stream:
Economics, Business and Political Economy
Location:
Torre B, Piso 3, T11
Start time:
1 September, 2017 at 11:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The overarching purpose of the proposed panel is to explore the ways in which structural reform can be carried out to support both care work at home and the promotion of women's employment and career advancement.

Long abstract:

With the Japanese government's recent loud calls for building a One Hundred Million Total Active Society, the issues of the gendered division of labour at home and the expansion of women's labour participation have been elevated to the top of the national agenda. Despite this, little progress was made in the areas of family support and women's employment, as demonstrated by the rise of nation-wide protest movements joined by young mothers. Furthermore, the current demographic condition in Japan often causes the need for families to engage in the elderly and child care concurrently, exacerbating the burden of care responsibilities individuals have to bear. Thus, it is today an imminent task to figure out and implement effective measures to support care work at home while enabling both men and women to engage in paid employment and balancing between work and the family life, and this requires the national government to concurrently carry out structural reform of the workplace, the social security system and the family. The overarching purpose of the panel is to explore the ways in which structural reform can be carried out to support both care work at home and the promotion of women's employment and career advancement. In order to achieve this, the first paper examines through data sets the current state of care work at home where individuals are often required to carry out doubled burdens of the elderly and child care. The second paper outlines the development of government policies in the areas of family support and women's labour in the last 30 years and identifies factors that have been impeding policy progress. Then, the third paper juxtaposes the Japanese case against the those of Scandinavian countries where care work at home was defamiliarized and women have achieved substantial career advancement. The comparison with the Scandinavian cases helps us to contemplate the ways in which the conundrum of reconciling care work and paid work and improving the quality of life, a problem that many Japanese people are now facing, would be tackled.