Japanese views on Gender

The post-war educational reforms in 1949 had opened all forms of higher education to women but the ‘gender-track’ in Japan continues. Higher education in Japan serves only two functions – general education and professional education and there is significant difference in the higher education of men and women. Women were given education enough for them to fulfill their assigned roles as women, which is why their education was limited to home sciences and humanities. Women are still confined to Junior colleges or women’s colleges or to some particular fields of specialization. Women however became conscious and entered the field of high education and started fighting for their rights as equals. With changes in education, legislation and work force, women’s attitudes and values changed. This affected women’s self-concepts and perception of abilities. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, Japan is a collectivist society, an extremely masculine country. Inequality and gender discrimination in Japanese society remains pervasive due to persisting assumptions about the sexual division of labour. Women have made progress in the education the business world but obstacles towards equality persist. While women’s consciousness has been stirred and they have also entered the field of politics, it is argued that gender issues should not be seen as a simple issue of improving the status of women. Women are becoming engaged in politics and standing for election. They have also been forming associations to act together on issues such as day-care, maternity leave, and sexual harassment policies but they encounter political constraints when it comes to decision making.