Minister’s Message on International Women’s Day 2021

Ministerʼs Message on International Womenʼs Day 2021

March 8, 2021

Minister in Charge of Womenʼs Empowerment
Minister of State for Gender Equality

“International Women’s Day” of this year amid the spread of COVID-19 is particularly significant and meaningful for gender equality.

The world is now at a historical turning point, with the pandemic having serious impacts on livelihoods, the economy and society as well as on people’s mindsets, behavior and values.

This pandemic has had a major and disproportionate impact on women. The number of female employees, mainly those engaged in non-regular employment, has substantially decreased and more women find themselves placed in difficult situations in terms of employment and livelihood. The number of people seeking help in regard to domestic violence and sexual assault and the number of female suicides have significantly increased year on year.

COVID-19 has thus strongly reaffirmed the importance of gender quality. It is at times such as the present when there is a greater need for gender equality than ever before.

Gender equality is important and solid policy for the Government of Japan . Women account for around 51% of Japan’s population and about 52% of the electorate. The environment surrounding women has changed rapidly over the last few decades. Ensuring gender equality in political, economic, social and all other decision-making processes and creating a society that accepts diversity help ensure the sustainable growth of Japan’s economy and will lead to the creation of a society where all people can enjoy more comfortable lives.

Based on these ideas, the Cabinet decided on the Fifth Basic Plan for Gender Equality last December, which set out basic guidelines to pave the way forward in the new Reiwa period and to provide the basis for a post-Covid-19 “new normal.”
The Fifth Basic Plan upholds the following as new targets :
- Create a society within the 2030s in which everyone can demonstrate their abilities regardless of sex and gender and where both women and men alike are in leadership positions; and
- Implement measures to increase the proportion of women in leadership positions to about 30% of the total as early as possible during the 2020s as a milestone to attain the aforementioned target.

March 11 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. As one of the lessons learned from the disaster, it has been made clear that anti-disaster measures formulated through a gender lens are indispensable for the creation of a disaster-resilient society. From now on, I will do my best to promote the gender perspectives in the local community, including the disaster response, all over the country.

I would like to express my heartfelt respect and gratitude to all people who have been devoted to gender equality in the face of this unprecedented crisis. I, together with the entire government, will be committed to making a full-scale effort for the creation of a “Reiwa society where all women and girls can thrive and achieve their full potential”, with my determination that no woman and girl facing hardships due to COVID-19 is left behind.