Japan’s ruling party reacts to a sexism dispute sparked by the head of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He said women talked too much at meetings. Now the ruling party wants women to attend important meetings – but only when they are not talking.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party proposed that five female MPs attend the party’s key meetings as observers. Toshihiro Nikai, the party’s 82-year-old general secretary, said yesterday that he had heard criticism that the party’s executive board was dominated by men but added that board members were being elected.
But it is important for the party’s female members to „look at“ the party’s decision-making process, he said. The observers are not allowed to speak during the meetings, but can submit their opinions separately to the secretariat, reported the daily newspaper „Nikkei“.
Olympic boss resigned
Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee, resigned last week after disparaging remarks about women who talked too much at meetings and made them too long sparked backlash at home and abroad.
The remarks made by the 83-year-old former prime minister are one of the examples that show how deeply sexism is ingrained in Japanese society. On the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 of the World Economic Forum, Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries – the worst among the advanced countries – and does poorly in terms of economic participation and political participation of women.
This week, a group of women MPs from the Liberal Democratic Party called Nikai to increase the number of women in key positions in the party. But the demand that female observers be silent at meetings has drawn criticism that the party is not up to date with the current state of the discussion.