In Japan the issue of women's poverty continues to be marginalized and in particular the situation of women as part of a household. Our research examines the quality of life of women living in households from the viewpoint of capability and shows some issues overlooked by mainstream studies.
In Japan from the late 1990s through to the early 2000s issues of 'inequality' and 'poverty' came to prominence and, especially after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, seen as serious social problems. The issue of women's poverty however, continues to be marginalized and in particular the situation of women as part of a household, has attracted little interest. Women who are part of a household either through living with their parent(s) or who are married, are not regarded as having any need for social support. There is a tendency to believe that women living in households are 'dependents' either of their parents or husbands. A typical example is that married women are not included in the definition of 'freeters' (non-regular worker) contained in the Japanese government's employment policy. When we look at household resources it is not always the case, as is assumed in economic theory that they are shared evenly with all household members, because the interests of each members differ. Our research examines the quality of life of women living in households from the viewpoint of 'capability' (Amartya Sen, Inequality Reexamined, 1992) and aims to show that because of the gender blindness of mainstream studies, a number of issues have been overlooked. For this study, we used our website survey to understand the living conditions of young women who have secondary education or less. They are not seen as a focus in youth employment support policies or in social policies to promote women's participation and advancement to managerial positions in the workplace, despite their extremely high rate of non-regular employment. The survey was conducted in April 2014 of 1,000 women and 1,000 men between the ages of 15 - 34 years. We conducted a follow-up survey on them with additional questions in November 2016. Our session will present an overview of the study, our research framework and then discuss the living conditions of young women from our research. We focus on employment, happiness, violence and their sense of self-respect and self-esteem.