Monday, October 12, 2009

Japan: Women & Politics

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Many Japanese woman, including younger female members of parliament, are hopeful for a change that has eluded them for many years under the previous administration
“The Japanese voters have greater expectations of women than before,” said Yoriko Madoka, a member of the House of Councilors (the upper house of Japan’s National Diet) since l992. The women in parliament will bring changes to Japanese politics, added the acknowledged gender advocate within the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

Exposed to the realities of Japanese society, the new and younger female members of parliament are more aware of gender issues and of the need to get rid of discrimination against women, said Madoka.

In terms of female presence in politics, Japan ranks 99th in the world, up from its previous standing of 134th, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organisation of Parliaments.

This shows that women’s involvement in politics is increasing. The current female composition of the lower house, numbering 54 , or 11.3 percent of the total—up from 9.2 before the last election—is still far below the 30 per cent government had set in 2005 as the target ratio of women in important positions by 2020.

Yet the number of women parliamentarians who now sit in the House of Representatives is already unprecedented in the history of Japanese politics, thanks in part to women’s groups that campaigned hard to send more women to parliament.

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