(Akahata: February 25, 2016 – p. 5)
On Feb. 24, the National Confederation of Trade Unions [Zenroren] Women’s Committee announced the results of the “Survey on the Working Conditions of Female Workers and Gender Equality and Health” and the “Survey on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Child-rearing.” The surveys showed the harsh conditions of female workers and revealed that what female regular workers want most is for “staff numbers to be increased.”
Those reporting “no overtime” were fewer than in the last survey, at 14.1% for regular workers and 47.5% for irregular workers. A full 21.9% reported they had been “subject to power harassment,” slightly higher than last time.
What female regular workers wanted most was for “staff numbers to be increased,” with 52.7% of women workers requesting that. Among public servants, an area where there have been ongoing cuts in staff numbers, the figure exceeded 60%.
When respondents were asked why they did not take nursing-care or nursing leave even though they had [to provide] nursing care or nursing [to a family member] for two weeks or more, the most frequent response was “personnel shortage or situation at the workplace” at 35.1%.
A total of 14.9% of female workers reported experiencing maternity harassment. Over 30% of irregular workers who were victims of maternity harassment were “reassigned or encouraged to resign.”
A full 27.5% reported having an “imminent miscarriage or premature delivery since 2011 [when the last survey was conducted].” Among nurses, that number was 37.4%.
What women workers reported wanting to see happen most to improve systems to support women in balancing work and family was the “creation of vacation days for family responsibilities, including class observation and PTA activities” and “increase in the number of days of leave to take care of sick children,” each at over 60%.
At a press conference held at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Zenroren Women’s Committee head Yuri Nagao said, “Female workers are crying out that they cannot take time off because of ongoing personnel cuts. We will fight to create workplaces where both men and women can truly shine.”
The surveys have been conducted every five years or so since 1992. With an eye on revising the Child Care and Family Care Leave Act, this time the surveys were conducted fewer than five years after the last surveys, which were conducted in 2011.
Both surveys were conducted from April through July 2015. A total of 10,738 women participated in the “Survey on the Working Conditions of Female Workers and Gender Equality and Health,” while 2,909 women responded to the “Survey on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Child-rearing.” (Slightly abridged)