L’Institut français de recherche sur le Japon à la Maison franco-japonaise a le plaisir de vous inviter au prochain Lunch Seminar on Japanese Economy and Society.

Inscription obligatoire : www.mfj.gr.jp/agenda/2021/03/26/ls_shirahase/

Women and COVID-19: A Serious Impact on Work and Family

SHIRAHASE Sawako (The University of Tokyo)

Friday March 26th, 2021

    Across all nations, the coronavirus pandemic has a greater negative impact on women than it does on men (OECD 2020: Blundell et al. 2020; ILO 2020). We expect the pandemic to worsen gender inequality if we do not take swift and positive action. In fact, we have already confirmed that COVID-19 has a more serious impact on Japanese women than on their male counterparts, mainly because Japan is largely segregated by gender in the family, the labour market, and in society as a whole. For instance, women spend much more time and energy than men on unpaid work at home, such as household chores and caring for children and frail parents. Compared to men, women are much more likely to have low-paid jobs largely in the form of part-time work., and their jobs are more likely to be in the service industries, which suffered the most serious impact of COVID-19.
    Why is there still a significant gender gap in Japan, when the gender gap in higher education — 56.3% men and 50.1% women in 2019 (School Basic Survey) — is narrowing? There remains a wide gender gap in specialisations: men are more likely to major in the sciences and engineering, while women are more likely to major in humanities, public health, and education. One reason why such a substantial gender gap persists could be the fact that there have been no major changes to the fundamental norms in gender relations: men play the major role of being the breadwinner, while women play the main role of assuming the family responsibilities. Promotion opportunities in the labour market are not equal between men and women, and there continue to be different expected behaviours for men and for women. 
    In my talk, I will present basic statistics related to COVID-19 to see how serious the impact on women is. I would also like to discuss how we can improve this serious gender gap amid the COVID-19 pandemic.