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Some of you may have heard about the recent news here in Japan.
Tokyo Medical University was caught manipulating entrance exam scores in order to keep the
total percentage of female students below 30%.
What the investigation found was that they added extra points to every male test except for
men who had already failed the test multiple times previously.
This is after they were already caught last month accepting bribes in order to grant admission
to the children of prominent figures, which they also did by boosting their scores.
It’s been suggested this is a widespread practice and now the Education Minister plans
on investigating all medical schools in Japan.
The reason given for why this happened in the first place is that women quit their jobs
sooner than men in order to start families and raise children.
There is currently a shortage of doctors in Japan, but this has also been going on
for at least 10 years, and many suspect even longer than that.
Understandably, a lot people are really outraged about this here right now.
After this news broke, the hashtag #私たちは女性差別に怒っていい (which means, it’s okay for us to be angry
about sexism toward women) trended on Twitter, where Japanese women spoke out against
this issue and shared their own stories of discrimination they’ve faced so today I’ll
be using this video to translate some of their stories and get their voices out to a wider
audience across the world.
I’ve been working as a teacher continuously for 20 years.
When my department changed the new head was male, and he said to me “If you haven’t
given birth or gotten married then you’re not complete and you shouldn’t be a teacher.”
I’ll never in my life forget that, but I’m living every day happy and smiling.
I’ll never in my life forgive him.
I was told the same thing by the president of the company I used to work for.
“You’re not married, you’re not complete, you don’t have the right to give your opinion
so just follow my orders.”
It’s been more than a decade and I still can’t forget it.
I’m working as a nurse, and when I was doing job hunting I was told the same thing by the
head of the hospital at my interview.
In my case, I think the head meant societally, too.
He even said things like I don’t deserve social security benefits.
I thought he was terminally stupid.
I also can’t forget it.
I’m a man but I’ve also been told something similar by a lot of people, since I’m a
middle-aged man who’s not married.
Acquaintances my age told me I’m defective as a human and I should grovel for forgiveness
in front of my parent’s grave.
The people who said these things have probably forgotten.
I was a midwife at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic, and 30 minutes before I was about
to take leave for my 4th pregnancy the director called me in and fired me.
He’s able to earn a living because of women giving birth, and he still treated me like
I had been working at this company for a while when I got pregnant with my 2nd son.
When I told them I was pregnant, they called me into the president’s office and he smoked
in front of me and sighed.
When I reached 8 months pregnant, my boss called me into the conference room.
He said that until I wrote a letter of resignation I couldn’t go home.
I kept sitting there while they endlessly hounded me.
My physical condition wasn’t great, and half in tears I wrote my resignation.
All of a sudden I was jobless.
From that day I became aware of the thinly veiled sexism toward women here, and I’ve
lost all hope.
In the past, my last interview with a former state-owned traffic company’s board member.
“So in the future you’ll get married.”
“I don’t know about that.”
“You absolutely will.
And then you’ll quit, right?”
“I won’t quit.”
“What if we order you to relocate to a different branch?”
“Of course I’ll go.”
“But then what about your husband?”
“I’ll make sure to marry someone who understands.”
“I don’t think you’re being realistic.”
“We could visit each other on weekends.”
“Sounds like wishful thinking.
What if you get pregnant?”
“I’ll use the maternity leave system…”
“You don’t get to decide that.”
When he said “This is a man’s company, the woman’s job is give priority to the
men” I just felt completely dejected.
When I was job hunting, in an interview with a real estate company president the first
thing he said was “Hnnn, I think this job is too tough for women.
You want to get married and have kids, right?”
He didn’t ask me anything job related.
As expected I didn’t get the job.
I will NEVER buy a house from that company.
When I was job hunting the interviewer said this to me: “We don’t give managerial
spots to women.
This other job is more suited for women.
Apply for that.”
And when I entered the job and let them know my desired department, they said “That job’s
too tough for women.
At the next consultation, ask for a department more suited toward women, okay?”
The industry where I work is mostly male and sexist remarks toward women are an everyday
I got tired of expressing my indignation and to protect myself I started to ignore it.
But I shouldn’t do that.
From now on women in this industry shouldn’t have to go through the things I did or lose
their opportunities because of this.
This story is a little off the subject, but at night on the train a man stared continuously
at me, followed me through my transfer, then off at the next station, and then into a conbini.
I was scared so I ran to a police box and they said, “It’s your fault for wearing
something so revealing.”
At that moment the scariest thing to me was the police.
I’m a software engineer.
In the past, my male boss told me I was pretty good with technology for a woman.
He meant it as a compliment but all I could say was “Yeah…”
Even now when I remember it I get angry.
20 years ago in driving school my elderly instructor said “Even though you’re a
woman you want a license?”
Even now I can never forget that.
I’ll join the protest.
My mother was told girls don’t need an education so she gave up on going to university.
I went to university but I ended up giving in to that idea, too.
I don’t want my daughter to go through this, too.
I want create a society for my daughter where she can seize her future through her own power.
My parents told me 'Girls don't need an education.'
To prove them wrong I succeeded in entering the highest ranked university in Japan.
When I applied for jobs I was told 'If you were a man we would have hired you instantly.'
My enemy wasn't just my parents.
It was all of society.
I have a typical domineering husband, and when my mother-in-law came to live with us
he just got worse.
All I could do was make sure my son doesn’t turn out this way, so at mealtimes I would
make him set the table and clean up the dishes afterward.
But then my mother-in-law would say “It’s fine, leave it” and do it all herself.
Gradually my son stopped doing anything at all.
This is the worst.
I wonder if men understand the frustration of home economics being a woman’s only required
In high school while the girls were taking home ec the boys were studying math and physics.
It’s not that I hate home ec, but it’s frustrating.
That was when I first experienced sexism.
In middle school girls took home ec and boys took technology.
It was extremely frustrating.
Another person replied with a quote from Japanese Wikipedia pages on home economics.
Originally in middle school Technology & Home Ec was supposed to be one taught together
for boys and girls under “Industrial Arts”, but under the table the Home Economics teaching
staff organization manipulated it so that boys and girls would be taught technology
and home ec respectively.
And then in high school it was originally supposed to be an elective for both boys and
girls, but they once again petitioned repeatedly until it became mandatory for just girls.
Looking it up on Wikipedia myself, it seems like these days it has gone back to the original
plan of boys and girls taking classes together, and home ec is now required for boys, too,
but for many years the classes were separated and mandatory only for girls.
Even today in my hometown when someone gives birth to a girl they congratulate them (I
say curse) by saying “Oh good, she’ll be helpful around the house.”
Don’t say things to make these newborn girls want to die already.
My 7 year old daughter’s dreams are infinite.
She thinks she can be a doctor and idol and taiyaki stall owner and pet groomer and astronaut
and pastry chef all at once.
I thought as her parent all I could do was watch over her.
But I have to do more.
Before she grows up this era of discrimination against women needs to end.
In my middle school class election I received the most votes, but because I was a girl they
made me vice president.
They gave the president spot to the boy who got fewer votes than me.
The first time I was aware of the differences between boys and girls I was in elementary
My dad and grandpa liked collecting antiques and used to show them to my little brother.
Among them there was a pocket watch I really liked so I said, “When I grow up can I have
I was told that when I grow up I’ll get married so I can’t have it.
All of my grandpa’s things would go to my little brother.
I didn’t understand at the time why I couldn’t get anything because I was going to get married,
but in my childlike mind I felt that my little brother was good and I was bad.
That kind of mindset has to stop.
In reality, I did get married.
But I never perceived it as being “married off” or “joining a different house.”
All I did was start a new family with my husband.
So, grandpa, give me your pocket watch.
When I was in my 5th year doing club activities, an outside lecturer man ordered me to stay
alone and clean up since I was a woman, and then go home.
I didn’t understand it at all.
If it happened now I’d be pissed and argue back.
When my daughter was in middle school she told me, “Mom, I think it would have been
better for you if I was never born.”
We don’t just have declining birth rates.
We will have no more children at all.
The discrimination against women is slowing killing Japan.
Take note.
-When I was a kid I was told countless times by my teachers and other adults “It would’ve
been great if you were a man” -In university I was asked “You’re just
going to get married soon so why do you want to go to university?”
(Side note: I’m still single today) -No matter how hard I tried, even if I got
a full 100 points I’m just told “But you’re still a woman”
This incident pierces through the lie that men are of higher ability than women.
They knew women were capable and hid it.
And when they were found out their excuse was “But women get married and have kids!”
Men don’t get married?
Men don’t have kids?
This is the result of a society where marriage and pregnancy responsibilities are solely
the duty of women.
Since a long time ago I’ve always been angrier than everyone else about these things, but
I was always the only one.
Let's finally be angry together.
Whenever a problem comes up people say “It was worse back in my day” or “It’s always
been like this” or “It’s worse in other countries.”
All I can say is so what?
Don’t try to trivialize the problems we’re facing with worthless comparisons like that.
The president at my company (a woman I know well) used to study economics.
At that time the university staff told her “They lower the entrance exam scores for
Every place does.
Because women aren’t capable of innovating, you know?”
10 years later she still remembers it word for word.
In the mid-80’s we women were given different starting salaries than men and that’s when
I first learned about sexism.
My friend said, “We took the same exam as men and passed the same standards, we’re
in the same university, right?
So then why is there discrimination like this in job hunting?”
And now 35 years later, I never thought it would be revealed that we weren’t in fact
clearing the same standards (we were clearing higher ones).
Looking at the timeline and seeing all the supportive messages from foreigners is making
me cry.
Over here this topic is only generating criticism and debate.
Until now I hadn’t seen many comments from people supporting us without hesitation.
But, there have been some men commenting in support of women, and I’ve collected some
of those comments to share as well.
Because women have kids and have to raise children and thus cause a gap in the workplace
you’d rather hire men?
Well there’s a gap in childrearing by most Japanese men.
The only reason women have to sacrifice their jobs is because they’re covering for your
lack of help.
We men need to start browsing this tag, too.
There are times where we’re not consciously trying to discriminate but we do it anyway.
There’s a lot of discrimination we don’t notice.
Not knowing is in itself a fault.
Of course men like me can also be angry about this fucking sexism toward the treasured people
and children in our lives.
A society where only women are angry about sexism toward women is awful.
Instead, we should not be quiet and show our support with the hashtag, #We men need to
be angry about sexism toward women
Five years ago I made a video about gender equality in Japan where I explained a lot
of these issues in detail, and unfortunately not much has changed since then.
It’s true that a lot of women leave their jobs when they get pregnant.
But 66% of Japanese women want to continue working after childbirth or return to work
after their child grows up. [1]
A huge reason they don’t is they have little choice since daycares are scarce and
men haven’t traditionally helped much with childcare.
Men spend an average of 74 minutes a day doing housework and helping with childcare, compared
to 440 minutes for women, or 7.3 hours. [2]
Five years ago I said 25,000 children were on waitlists to get into a daycare.
As of last year it was 26,000 [3].
Last year Japan reached a record high of Japanese men taking paternity leave, at a whopping
5.14%. [4]
So even if women want to continue working, it’s often impossible.
We saw many comments earlier of women being forcefully resigned during their pregnancies,
and of the 20% of Japanese men who even admitted they’d like to take paternity leave, many
of them felt like the environment at their workplace discouraged it. [1]
And as we saw women talking about earlier, it’s difficult for women to obtain careers
with the prospect of promotion.
Only 8.7% of kacho, or section managers and higher level positions are women. [5]
Last year Nissan made news when it achieved its goal of 10% female managers. [6]
The Global Gender Gap Report of 2017, which measures gender gaps in every country
by numerous criteria, including economic participation, educational attainment, health, and political
empowerment ranks Japan at 114th, primarily due to a lack of women in higher management
and governmental positions. [7]
But enough about statistics.
Jun, as a Japanese man, what do you think?
About the Tokyo Medical University thing?
I heard one of the excuses is that they have a right to choose, right?
But if they have a right to choose, I think we also have a right to choose, too.
And I don't think they're being fair at all.
Especially about scores.
And they should say that before the test.
And as much as I felt bad for these female students who couldn't enter this college just
because they're a woman...
I felt bad for them, but I also felt bad for the students who are in the college right
now because they have been studying really hard to get into college.
And they're trying to help people, they're trying to save people's lives.
And after they graduate, people might be like, "Oh you're from this college?"
Another prejudice or discrimination might happen.
It's just a vicious cycle.
It's just really not- it doesn't make any sense to me.
And actually I felt really bad for women and everyone who was involved with this in general.
That was horrible.
Well, on top of that, they've been boosting scores for children of prominent officials
or alumni children so even if they weren't able to pass the test, they're putting them
through medical school anyway.
With less knowledge than they should know.
It's not about feminism or anything, it's just common sense to me.
From the first place obviously I'm not a woman or I'll never be a mother so I don't think
I can truly understand what it's like to go through things like we just shared in this
video right now.
But I can imagine.
And if you can imagine I think you can be considerate before you say really rude things
or really, really sad things.
I will put the hashtag down in the description box if you want scroll through it and read
more of Japanese women's stories.
And if you show your support, I will also put a sentence you can use, which would just
be your country's name (in English is fine, or whatever language), and then say から応援しています!Which
means, "I'm supporting you from (this country)!"
And then you can respond to Japanese women's tweets with that to show them that everyone
around the world is thinking about them.
By the way, it's lunch time and because I'm a man I'm going to cook you lunch now.
See you guys later!


What Japanese women are saying about discrimination in Japan

19 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 24 日
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