I chose to interview this individual as I believed it would be interesting to hear about her experiences working in a broadcasting company. She has been able to be in charge of multiple cases, and I thought that considering her perspective will allow me to see how gender equality issues play out in the workplace.
When asked whether she had ever believed there was inequality in the workplace, she discussed with me how when she first joined the office, there were certain jobs and roles that only women were supposed to do. Some of these included light cleaning of the office space, making tea for everyone, washing the teacups and such. Even if the work that everyone in the office was doing was the same, the traditional responsibility was placed on the female members of the office. While she was working, she also believes that she did not have the opportunity to take on ‘bigger, breaking news’ stories like her male co-workers did. This applied to all women in the office and the majority of them were assigned smaller stories like the opening of art galleries and such. Promotions were also more likely to go to males and even currently there are fewer women in managerial positions. However, she did explain how in 1986 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was released, cases like these did decrease a bit more. A lot of what she told me redefined what I had researched about the inequality seen in traditional Japanese workplaces so I was glad I was able to interview and learn about these in more detail.
She further explained to me the difficulty of raising kids while working. 20 years ago, when she gave birth to her first child, she had to take a step down in her career to make more time for her children as before, her working hours were far too long. She discussed how she believes parenting should be both the mother and father’s responsibility and should not lie completely on the mother. For this to happen, she explained the importance of taking paternity leave as a mandatory requirement. While it does exist in Japan, many individuals do not take it as it is looked down on in society. Many think that it shows a lack of commitment to work. Hearing that was quite interesting to me because I had known that paternity leave was existent in Japan but I didn’t know that individuals chose not to take it. I too agree with her and believe that paternity leave should become mandatory so that individuals are allowed time to reconnect with their families and build a place in the home other than just financial support.
* The link to the transcript from the meeting can be found here. A picture of the interview was not approved to be shown as the interviewee would like to remain anonymous