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SOCIETY > Human Rights

50.5% say women subjected to discrimination at workplace, Cabinet Office poll

  • December 3, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 31
  • JMH Translation

On Dec. 2, the Cabinet Office announced the findings of its Public Opinion Poll on Human Rights Promotion and Protection. When asked what kinds of violations they thought women were subjected to today, 50.5% of respondents said “discriminatory treatment at the workplace.” This question has been asked since the 1997 poll, and this is the first time for the percentage to exceed 50%. The figure represents an increase of 10.7 percentage points from the finding in the previous poll conducted in 2012.


Although more women are promoted to managerial positions, it looks like more people struggle to balance career and family, including having difficulty gaining the understanding and cooperation of their workplaces regarding childcare.


Examples of “discriminatory treatment at the workplace” included “difficulty for women to become managers” and “maternity harassment,” where women are treated unfairly at the workplace due to pregnancy or childbirth. Meanwhile, 33.3% of pollees said that “women are subjected to discriminatory treatment due to entrenched views on dividing labor based on gender (e.g., ‘women take care of the home’).” This also represents an increase of 9.1 points from the previous survey (24.2%).


Asked what method would be effective in raising awareness regarding human rights issues, 41.9% said “education and information provision via the Internet,” up 13.8 points from the previous survey (28.1%).


It is thought that behind this upward trend is the rising interest in Internet advertising, as social networking services (SNS) make it easy for individuals to express their empathy or concern.


Asked if human rights violations in Japan have changed [over the past five or six years], 29.4% of all pollees said they have “increased,” down 4.6 points from the previous survey. Meanwhile, 14.3% said that violations have “decreased.” Some 50.8% said the number of violations “has not changed much.”


The poll was taken on Oct. 5–15 based on individual interviews of 3,000 men and women nationwide age 18 or over. Valid responses were received from 1,758 people for a valid response rate of 58.6%.


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