Plan for Gender Equality 2000

10. Promoting Gender Equality to Open the Way for a Diversity of Choices through Enrichment of Education and Learning

[Basic Direction of Measures]

Education to promote gender equality at home, school, in the community and every area of society should be enhanced in helping to correct the public understanding of stereotyped gender roles and make gender equality take root in the minds of people.

To realize an affluent, vital society in the future, it is necessary to build a society of lifelong learning where people are able to take advantage freely of learning opportunities whenever they want at any point in their lives, and where the results of learning are appropriately evaluated. The promotion of lifelong learning holds extremely important significance, and it must be encouraged to enable women to participate in activities in all areas of society in an equal manner as men. Specifically, there is a need to further promote measures related to the establishment of a structure for the promotion of lifelong learning, the stimulation of interest in learning, the provision of learning opportunities, and the appropriate evaluation of learning results.

(1) Education and learning to promote gender equality

Education at schools must increase awareness of equality between women and men in line with the spirit of the Constitution of Japan and the Fundamental Law of Education, and must be based on the current task of creating a gender-equal society. For this reason, the further promotion of education which values the individuals throughout all elementary and secondary educational activities should continue. At the higher education level, the results of education up to that education level should be reinforced and an awareness of equality between women and men should be further enhanced. At the same time, various measures to provide learning opportunities for women at that level should be taken.

In social education, women and men should increase their awareness of gender equality throughout their lives. To this end, education related to gender equality should be comprehensively promoted through various activities to promote lifelong learning.

In the report of the Lifelong Learning Council entitled "Measures to Promote Lifelong Learning Matched to Future Trends in Society" (29 July 1992), proposals have been made for the enhancement of learning opportunities related to modern issues such as the "creation of a gender-equal society" -- issues on which greater priority must be placed in order to promote lifelong learning. To enable women to choose how they want to live and to lead fulfilling lives, efforts must be made to establish a foundation for lifelong learning.

[Concrete Measures]

(a) Enhancing elementary and secondary education

- Enhance instruction throughout school education

Enhance instruction, prepare textbooks and other educational materials, train instructors, etc., with due consideration to respect for human rights, gender equality, and mutual cooperation and understanding throughout school education and provide further information, guidance and assistance to boards of education, etc., to achieve this.

- Enhance home economics education

Promote the improvement and enhancement of the content of education with a view to women and men cooperating in family life, based on the revised Course of Study of March 1989. Promote understanding, training of teachers, and build and enhance facilities and equipment against the backdrop of improvements in home economics education in upper secondary schools in response to changes in society and to the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which has required all male and female students to take home economics for new students from 1994.

(b) Promoting gender equality in institutions of higher learning

- Utilize women's studies and gender studies

Further promote education and research, including consideration of training for male researchers, and incorporate a gender-sensitive perspective into educational and research activities with respect to women's studies in order to reconstruct conventional systems of learning so that they reflect the perspective of women. Widely utilize the achievements of these women's studies and gender research in the program development of community education, etc., and promote corresponding feedback to the communities.

(c) Promoting social education

- Enhance learning opportunities related to home education

Enhance learning opportunities for home education, including home education classes targeting current parents as well as classes targeting future parents, so that women and men respect each others' characteristics and help each other understand the other's viewpoints.

- Promote mutual understanding and cooperation between girls/boys, young women/men

Promote mutual understanding and cooperation between girls/boys and young women/men through various learning and exchange activities in the community.

- Promote learning activities for women and men

Encourage local governments to offer classes/courses that help to resolve women's problems and make efforts to further enhance learning opportunities for girls and boys as well as women and men on gender equality, mutual understanding and cooperation, and joint participation in society.

- Foster a gender equality perspective

Promote research and development on learning programs and teaching materials, production of materials for instructors, training of expert instructors, etc., related to gender equality, to foster an awareness of gender equality among people, including men. Conduct studies and research on education and learning related to joint participation between women and men, and disseminate the results.

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Education

(2) Enhancing educational and learning opportunities to enable various choices

[Basic Direction of Measures]

The changing consciousness and enhancement of the educational level of women has strengthened calls for more diversified, sophisticated learning opportunities for women. In this light, efforts should be made to enhance learning opportunities throughout the lives of women, to enhance measures to promote participation by women in society, and to establish and enhance women's educational facilities.

When providing career/employment guidance, consideration must be given to enabling students to think about their lifestyles, abilities and aptitudes, to set future goals, and to acquire the abilities/attitudes needed for their self-chosen path. In counseling female students, teachers and others in the position of providing advice must work to provide information on a wide variety of majors, industries and occupations, without locking in on the public understanding of stereotyped gender roles. At the same time, attention must be paid to encouraging the selection of paths that give full consideration to changes in future economic and social conditions.

[Concrete Measures]

(a) Promoting lifelong learning

- Improve the system for the promotion of lifelong learning in communities

Promote utilization of the "Basic Plan for the Promotion of Lifelong Learning in Communities" and encourage local governments to promote the improvement of related administrative organizations, formulation of lifelong learning promotion plans, upgrading of lifelong learning promotion centers, etc. based on laws related to the improvement of the system for advancing measures to promote lifelong learning.

- Hold lifelong learning festivals

Promote interest in lifelong learning among each Japanese and expand learning activities in the future by providing opportunities to conduct lifelong learning activities nationwide.

- Improve the lifelong learning information network

Further promote the upgrading of systems at the prefectural level for providing information and consultation on learning to support voluntary learning activities by residents. Upgrade the nationwide lifelong learning information network.

- Promote recurrent education

Enhance the lifelong learning functions of universities and other institutions given the increasing importance of recurrent education, which re-educates citizens and workers, as a response to rapid advances in science and technology and changes in the industrial structure in recent years, e.g., admitting transfer students, selecting more workers as students in universities, promoting afternoon and evening course systems, establishing night graduate schools, holding courses open to the public, etc. Enhance open courses at upper secondary schools.

- Expand University of the Air's coverage and other institutions

Make preparations for the nationwide expansion of University of the Air's coverage, which provides opportunities for higher education through television and radio, by utilizing satellite broadcasts to reach beyond the current broadcast scope which covers only part of the Kanto region. Promote the expansion of credit-based upper secondary schools, and special training schools to provide learning opportunities for those with various educational backgrounds and living environments.

- Promote the opening up of school facilities

Further promote the opening of school facilities to communities for local residents to receive various learning opportunities so that schools are not only a place for the education of school children, but they also play a role in providing a place for adults in the community to learn.

- Enhance experiences and activities outside the school for children and youth

Enhance the places (e.g., nature field trips) and opportunities (e.g., in the community) for extracurricular activities of children and youth to promote the healthy development of children and youth.

- Cooperate with private-sector educators

Promote the healthy development of private-sector educators by, for example, offering guidance and advice for mutual cooperation with private educators organizations and local public entities. Enhance learning opportunities that utilize private educators through subsidies and financing for lifelong learning activities operated by private businesses. Enhance studies and research that consider the ideal orientation of cooperation between educational administrative authorities and private educators.

- Appropriately evaluate learning results

Continue to implement the Ministry of Education's certification and skills examinations. Encourage universities and other institutions to approve credits earned at special training schools and these earned by passing tests run by the Ministry, and to otherwise appropriately evaluate the results of learning.

(b) Enhancing education and learning activities matched to the diversified and sophisticated learning demands of women

- Enhance learning opportunities throughout the lives of women

Support the opening of classes/courses offered by boards of education, community centers (and other such social education facilities), women's education organizations, parent-teacher associations and other groups and the enhancement of information. Promote the opening of high-level, specialized courses in cooperation with universities, etc.

- Promote the skills development and social participation of women

Support the activities of women's organizations working to improve the status of women and to address a variety of community issues, promote various educational and learning activities for participation in society using the skills of women.

- Train instructors

Encourage training of women's education instructors by boards of education and women's education organizations and train these instructors in such a way that women actively take part in the planning and implementation of learning activities.

- Improve the National Women's Education Center

At the National Women's Education Center, further promote: practical training related to women (e.g., women's education and home education); domestic as well as international exchanges; collection/provision of information; and the conducting of specialized studies and research for women's education instructors and other concerned personnel; and subsequently, volunteer activities that take advantage of the results of learning. Enhance networks linking concerned organizations/facilities, organizations/groups, and individuals, and to strengthen its function as a base for information on women. Comprehensively promote lifelong learning for women in communities through the operation of women's educational facilities (e.g., public and private women's centers), building of information networks, provision of opportunities for and consultation on learning matched to the actual conditions in communities, and conducting of various studies and research.

(c) Enhancing career/employment guidance

- Enhance career guidance

Further improve and enhance guidance at schools to offer students a variety of opportunities from the time of entrance and -- without limiting them to stereotypes about what boys and girls ought to pursue -- to enable each and every student to acquire the skills/attitudes needed for their self-chosen paths, and to advance into a wide range of areas.

- Promote career-minded awareness among female upper secondary school and university students

Promote a career-minded awareness and nurture women to be mentally prepared for selecting a career and finding a job to enable female upper secondary school and university students to select their own career paths, and to be fully aware of a wide variety of work options and not limited to occupations considered "suited to a woman".

- Enhance employment guidance

Promote the provision of opportunities for the exchange of information and discussions between university career planning counselors and company employers, the establishment of opportunities for career planning guidance counselors to discuss employment problems, and the offering of job-search guidance to students at various universities. Enhance job-search guidance for female students by promptly providing students with the latest job information and assigning specialists at universities to be in charge of employment guidance.

- Seek the cooperation of business organizations

Ask business organizations to continue to cooperate to ensure equal employment opportunities for female students.

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Labor