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Local News

Will the Japanese Prime Minister fix its country’s gender problem?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected on Sunday, but his pre-election promises of “womenomics” might not be on track.

Propelling the pro-women platform was a promise for 30% of public and private positions to be filled by women by the end of the decade. Prime Minister Abe also appointed five female ministers to his cabinet, though two later resigned due to funding and campaign irregularities.
Abe won the praise of Hillary Clinton with his pro-women, female empowerment declarations during the campaign, promising to reduce the pay gap between men and women (according to The Japan Times Japanese women currently earn 70% of a man’s salary for the same job, in Australia there is a 17% difference in the pay packet of men and women) and increase childcare options for women. Currently 70% of Japanese women leave full-time work after having children and instead opt for part-time work.
Clinton said to Abe at the time,
"I’m very impressed with the comprehensive approach you are taking, not only providing more services like child care and home care positions that will enable more women to go into the workforce, but also leading by example – increasing the number of women in your cabinet and your party. All of that is important because it sends the right signal."
However "womenomics" appears to have been pushed to the side with a bill that mandated that big companies should set targets for quotas of women employed and women only made up 15% of people running for office in the election.
Japan ranks 104th out of 142 countries and territories for gender equality according to the World Economic Forum.
Also on Abe’s agenda are changes to the country's economy.

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