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MFJ Lunch Seminar - Japanese Economy and Society


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Women and COVID-19:A Serious Impact on Work and Family

Across all nations, the coronavirus pandemic has a greater negative impact on women than it does on men (OECD 2020: Blundell et al. 2020; ILO 2020). We expect the pandemic to worsen gender inequality if we do not take swift and positive action.

In fact, we have already confirmed that COVID-19 has a more serious impact on Japanese women than on their male counterparts, mainly because Japan is largely segregated by gender in the family, the labour market, and in society as a whole. One reason why such a substantial gender gap persists could be the fact that there have been no major changes to the fundamental norms in gender relations: men play the major role of being the breadwinner, while women spend much more time and energy on unpaid work at home, such as household chores and caring for children and frail parents. Despite a narrowing gender gap in higher education, women are much more likely to have low-paid jobs largely in the form of part-time work, and their jobs are more likely to be in the service industries, which suffered the most serious impact of COVID-19. Promotion opportunities in the labour market are not equal between men and women, and there continue to be different expected behaviours for men and for women.

In my talk, I will present basic statistics related to COVID-19 to see how serious the impact on women is. I would also like to discuss how we can improve this serious gender gap amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


About Speaker

Sawako SHIRAHASE (The University of Tokyo)

Sawako Shirahase is a professor of sociology at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology of the University of Tokyo. She received her PhD in sociology from Oxford University in 1997, and joined the University of Tokyo in 2006.
Her main research interests include social stratification and social demography, inequality in income and wealth, and family and the social security system in cross-national perspectives. As part of her research she conducted a nationally representative survey to examine the formation of stratification structures and the mechanisms that generate inequality in contemporary Japan.

Moderator: Adrienne SALA (FRIJ-MFJ)
Organization: IFRJ-MFJ
Co-organization: CCIFJ France Japon
Support: Ambassade de France au Japon


CCI France Japon  reservation(@)ccifj.or.jp

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