Japan’s gender inequality puts it to shame in world rankings

When it comes to gender equality, Japan has no shortage of distressing figures.

The statistics that are most often used to illustrate the nation’s dismal status in this respect are the United Nations Development Program’s Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), which gauges equality by tracking women’s participation in politics and business.

In 2007, Japan’s GEM was ranked 54th out of 93 countries, compared with Australia’s 8th ranking, Germany’s 9th, Canada’s 10th, Britain’s 14th and the United States’ 15th. Among Asian peers, Japan’s rank was significantly lower than Singapore’s (16th), while China and South Korea both trailed Japan at 57th and 64th, respectively.

Women in power are particularly few and far between, with only 9.4 percent of parliamentary seats here being occupied by women, which puts the nation in the disgraceful position of being ranked 131st out of 189 countries surveyed.