Gender Equality In Japan?

I live in Japan. It’s where I work. Being a union executive of my company for over a decade, one thing that always struck me in gender roles in Japan is the double standard which allows one sex or the other to carve out special spheres of privilege instead of working towards commonality. I wonder how that works for establishing fairness and equality?  

Let’s look at this logically: if smokers are allowed 15 minutes every 2 hours to smoke, surely you can allow non-smokers the same amount of time of deviating from work to non-work. Let them go home an hour earlier?  

Women aren’t allowed to work late, by law. Conversely, over time cannot be forced so a person male or female who stands up for their right to finish on time, can go home. Why do women need a special law? Why treat women like children? Why not give her the power of choice?

Women complain of being groped on the train. Instead of enforcing laws that don’t allow for preying on defenceless women on trains, the government makes “women only cars.” Should there be men only cars? That would be sexist. But you see, if the government won’t exercise its laws concerning groping, when a woman is sexually harassed on a regular train, the first question asked is “why didn’t you use the women’s only car?” That means you caused your own attack. In retail I understand focusing on your market sells a product, but doesn’t having separate cars enforce the mentality it’s ok to prey on others? By asking for a men’s only car does that make me sound sexist? It probably does, but if Japan blames a woman for being groped in a regular train, then maybe there should be male only cars - if there are no women then at least some of the harassment stops.

Women and men should be equally allowed to raise their children.

Japan says they need more children but the infrastructure won’t allow for more nurseries. Women out of work lose marketability when they reenter the workforce. Men who ask to take their legal right to paternity leave are looked at as slackers. It won’t be said to their faces but behind closed doors and over beers, “yup Tanaka was so pussy-whipped he had to ask for ‘daddy home’ time. Wifey wears the pants.”  Simple. Judgement passed.  

Why is it so hard to treat people fairly? One person = another person. And be done with it.

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