Women in Japan are still struggling with a lack of gender equality. This applies to many spheres of life-both education, work and running a home and functioning in the family. They face discrimination on a daily basis and very often live in the shadow of men. In contrast, there are individuals who show their opposition to unfair social demands. One of them is Chizuko Ueno- she is a woman giving Japanese women hope for change for the better.
Table of Contents:
- Who is Chizuko Ueno?
- Growing up and noticing the problem
- First controversy
- Chizuko’s views
- Inclusive language
- Sexism in society
- Hope for change
- Voice of a generation
Who is Chizuko Ueno?
Chizuko Ueno is a Japanese sociologist who is the voice of women in Japan. She is dedicated to spreading awareness of women’s rights and gender equality. She also writes books on feminism. This is a woman who is an inspiration to many Japanese women-a country where wage inequality, discrimination, a certain canon of beauty and the belief that men come first needs a change. Chizuko with her speeches, written speech and through online activities shares knowledge and represents women who often lack the courage to voice their opposition.
Growing up and noticing the problem
Chizuko Ueno was born in 1948 in Ishikawa Prefecture. She was raised in the Christian faith, which she says was unusual, since Christian adherents are only 1% in Japan. Chizuko mentioned that she grew up in a home where she was not treated equally with her brothers. She recalls her father as a sexist man who treated his wife badly. Her childhood had a huge impact on the formation of her character and allowed her to see the problem of gender inequality early on. So she decided that in the future she would like to be able to help women come out of the shadows and give them support and introduce real action.
Chizuko’s academic career has been marked by the promotion of gender equality and the formalization of the interdisciplinary science of gender- gender studies. She then began to gain knowledge about feminism. Ueno said that college is the perfect time to start planning her future activities. When she was considering how she should implement her ideas, she thought it would be a good idea to use her light pen and love of literature. It was then that the idea to write her first book was born in her mind.
The first book written by Chizuko Ueno was “The Study of the Sexy Girl.” The work is about deciphering advertising and media messages and the ways in which they use the image of women. In it, she emphasizes how often one can find subtext and an object portrayal of Japanese women.
Another book is “Reading the Housewife debates.” It presents a consideration of housewives, and the changes at the end of the 20th century, when more women decided to take up work. Based on the changes and events of the decade, there have been significant legislative changes-the 1986 Labor Equality Act went into effect, and the 1997 law lifting restrictions that applied to women’s employment in Japan’s labor market.
Initially, Chizuko’s books were controversial and the subject of much discussion. As a result, on the other hand, it gained immense popularity, and the wave of numerous comments did not discourage it. On the contrary-it influenced her decision to write another book-“Danryu bungakuron.” In it, she addressed the analysis of literature written by men. She noted their portrayal of female characters, as well as their differences in writing style and biographical motifs, which many times inspire the work. Chizuko Ueno believes that authors’ experiences not only provide inspiration, but also create their worldview, which is each author’s unique point of view.
The next book titled “Kindaikazoku no seiritsu to shuen” dealt with the evolution of family and state policies. In it, Chizuko also analyzed the lives of young women and men who chose to remain single.
Chizuko is a critic of postwar revolutionism. She has repeatedly expressed her opposition to the whitewashing of Japan’s history-according to her, this is an unjust explanation for colonialism, numerous war atrocities and racism. This applies to both World War II and modern times. In one of her speeches, she admitted that she favors granting compensation to Korean women who were forced into sex work by Japan.
Chizuko very often touches on the topic of semiotics, as well as the accessibility of feminism-she says that in a feminist discussion using Japanese, there is often a situation where the vocabulary needed for the equality concepts being conveyed to be understood correctly and to be accessible. The Japanese language is characterized by a lack of distinction between the masculine and feminine gender-hence it is difficult to have a dialogue on topics related to the role of women in Japanese society, at home, or in the family.
Sexism in society
Many experts say that Chizuko’s work proves that the most important element of Marxist-feminist thought is the realization, and acknowledgement, that sexism is very deeply rooted in modern culture-it is an integral component of capitalist economies.
“Sexism in the modern family does not owe its roots to pre-modern traditions, but rather is a merciless product of the post-industrial economic structure.”
Chizuko Ueno constantly stresses that her mission is to facilitate access to feminist thought and that women, should be treated equally with men.
For more, you can read about sexism in the article: Sexism is sexism
Hope for change
Currently, Chizuko Ueno is focusing on efforts to improve the situation of women at Japanese universities. During one of her speeches, she highlighted issues related to favoritism toward men in universities, which are:
- Women face higher score thresholds than men to get into medical-related fields
- Parents of prospective students believe that men should go to a 4-year college and women to a 2-year college
- Male students discriminate against female students who want to join university clubs and organizations
These alarming figures not only show the enormous discrimination against women, but also indicate how big the problem of access to education and getting an education still is. These days, gender shouldn’t affect a job or degree.
Voice of a generation
Japanese society has deeply ingrained highly conservative views related to the role of women. Although the situation is gradually improving, it is still not ideal, and the voice of women like Chizuko Ueno-they are not only the inspiration, but also the driving force for change-is still needed.
Chizuko Ueno is a Gentlewoman who, as a representative of Japanese women, strives to improve their situation and is constantly taking further steps to achieve gender equality. Thanks to her, there is still hope for women to have equal rights in the future.