Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to give a larger role for women in Japan, the Asian powerhouse still ranks way below its neighbors in the progress of females in the government. According to a recent United Nations survey, Japan is currently at the 127th spot, far behind China, South Korea and even North Korea and way too low for a developed country .
Anders Johnsson, the Secretary-General of Inter-Parliamentary Union, a global association of national parliaments, said “It is going to require a very substantial rethinking in Japan about how we do politics and that is really the challenge of the prime minister.” IPU and U.N. Women recently unveiled the Women in Politics Map 2014 based on data gathered until Jan 1. 2014, which showed Japan at a slightly higher rank last year at 122nd. Abe, who spoke lengthily at a U.N. General Assembly in September, called for a greater participation of women in politics, not just in Japan but also all over the world. However, Johnsson stressed that while it shows Abe’s dedication, a concrete action must be taken to increase the number of female leaders in the government. He called for action within the political party level, saying, “In Japan, like many other countries, the gatekeepers are the political parties, they have to bring in more women into the parties, they have to give them leadership roles in the parties, they have to think about them when they are fielding candidates.”
Only 8.1 percent of women make up the Japanese Parliament since Abe’s administration began in 2012. China on the other hand, ranks at 61st followed by South Korea at 91st and North Korea at a close 92nd. However, since 2013, there were no significant improvements in the Asian region as a whole when it comes to female lawmakers. Rwanda ranks the highest with 63 percent of female legislators in its lower house. Sweden is currently at the 4th spot while Finland is at 8th. The United States was at a surprising number 83, tied with San Marino.
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