Or How Scientific Whaling Strategies Extend Into Breeding Politics.
It's impressive what's happening worldwide with the movement of equalizing women in the rights, salaries and more ... with men.
And while the attention is clearly directed at domestic violence, salaries differences in the west, and women treated unequally in the developing countries, especially such as India (agreed, some will argue it's developed), barely anyone notices how Japan is covering up, and rather masterfully I have to admit, their latest campaign "career minded women are to be blamed for the decline in the population".
The amusement is perhaps extended further, when I share with you the fact that the very government itself does nothing to support the welfare of women, but would rather keep them where they belong: at home to pander to their husbands.
And what is it that specifically that the Japanese government does so masterfully?
They don't blatantly say women should stay at home. Well they do, or to be precise they did, but since it was all too obvious, the public reaction forced them to become craftier at their messages. And, rather scientifically, as in whaling, the politicians turned toward actions and away from words.
According to the latest statistics, the welfare ministry on September 12th announced that as of April 1st, the number of children on waiting lists for admission to authorised care facilities, which meet national- or municipal-level requirements, totalled 41,748. But many believe that these numbers have been lowered and in reality are much higher. It's of no surprise as well that the government purposefully refuses to offer or give any support to women who are interested in pursuing a career. In fact it was mentioned by Japan's ex-Prime Minister that women who enjoy their career and live selfishly, should not be supported by the government.
What is the most impressive is not so much the fact that women are blamed for refusing to continue being the breeding cows, but the fact that men are totally unhappy about women having equal rights. Yet, they do manage to cover it up by explaining the fact women should be mothers first, and career should come third (after their husband). And, naturally science here is supporting the case. Clever politicians now claim that the low birth rate is a problem caused by women pursuing their careers and enjoying their lives in their thirties more than they should, and that they get married later. And when they do try to have children in their late thirties or forties, it's too late because women's eggs are too old. According to the scientists, old eggs are not as good as young ones and cause the low birth rate.
Here is a quote from Ruka Yamamoto, who is exactly the type of woman accused for causing decline in the population. She is a successful lawyer, in her mid-thirties. Ruka and her husband are considering having children at the moment, but they struggle to prioritise their finances and the family pressure (both families find it unacceptable that Ruka is considering hiring a nanny. They insist she should quit her job and become a full time mum):
"Of course politicians claim they will contribute to women's participation in society for election, but they actually don't want that. Most of the middle aged male politicians want to keep women in their homes and make them raise children, and keep away from any political or business field so that they can keep exclusive power in politics, economy or any other area. From my view, it's obvious, as it's quite easy to increase birth rate: just establish more nurseries so that more mothers can work. With this policy, huge amounts of women will go on to give birth while keeping their job. This has been said since decades ago, but politicians never really make an effort to increase number of nurseries. So, it's just really difficult for many couples to plan to have children.
In addition, many young women recently prefer to be housewives rather than pursue their career. There seems to be so many reasons for this preference including the lack of nurseries. So, it seems that middle aged male politician's self-interested strategies have worked so far..."
What really impresses me, is the length the government goes to, to achieve the women-are-not-men stigma. They use media. One of the examples is a TV program "Hanako to Anne". While at the first glance you will see nothing out of order, Wikipedia proffers this description; the drama is practically infested with the scenes of women giving birth and scenes of raising children. They even have advertising campaigns directed at one purpose and one purpose only: show lots and lots of cute babies and or mums playing with their new born babies.
The strategy seems to work. As previously most of my female Japanese friends and clients were trying to sort out their career issues, now... I am constantly asked for advice on marriage that will lead to having children and becoming a stay at home mum.
And what is your opinion on the subject?