GENEVA (Kyodo) — Japan ranked 116th out of 146 countries in the gender gap rankings this year, at the bottom of the East Asia and Pacific group and the Group of Seven major economies, said a Swiss-based think tank on Wednesday.
The World Economic Forum report showed that women’s participation in political and economic arenas remains particularly low in Japan. However, the country has achieved high scores in access to education and health.
Japan ranked 120th out of 156 countries in last year’s ranking.
In Asia, the Philippines remained the top performer at 19th place, while South Korea ranked 99th and China 102nd.
The second lowest ranked G-7 member in 2022 was Italy in 63rd place. The other G-7 countries – Germany, France, Britain, Canada and the United States – ranked between 10th and 27th.
“The result shows that the situation in Japan is lagging behind other nations and we must take it with humility,” Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press briefing in Tokyo.
Japan’s overall performance was slightly lower than last year with an overall score of 0.65. The reference used in the study varies between 0 and 1, 1 being complete parity between men and women. The index tracks gender disparities, not the resources available to women as such.
Iceland remained the most equal country, topping the rankings for the 13th consecutive year, with an overall score of over 0.9. Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden complete the top five. With the exception of Norway, all other leading countries are led by female prime ministers.
The report, which tracks progress towards gender equality in the economy, politics, education and health, notes that only 9.7% of Japanese parliamentarians are women, while only 10% of ministerial posts are held by women. He also noted that the country has never had a female prime minister.
The share of women working part-time was more than double that of men, and the average income of Japanese women was only 57% of what a man earned, he added.
Matsuno, chief cabinet secretary, said the push for women’s economic independence is at the heart of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s drive to create “a new form of capitalism”, and that the government will strive to achieve it.
“We will make it mandatory (for companies) to disclose information on gender pay gaps, to train more women in the digital field and to increase the wages of people working in sectors with many female employees, such as care. health care, the elderly as well as child care,” Matsuno said.
Although there are big differences between countries, the think tank estimates that it will take 132 years to fully close the global gender gap. It marks a slight improvement over the 2021 estimate, which set the time frame at 136 years.
However, the think tank says the coronavirus pandemic has set back gender parity by “an entire generation” and that a weak recovery has not helped offset it.
The Gender Gap Report has been published by the think tank every year since 2006. This year marks the 16th edition.