“Champions of Courage: Celebrating the Triumphs of Two Remarkable Women on International Women’s Day and Beyond”

Hi how are you? Today’s topic is today that March 8 is “International Women’s Day“, so I’d like to report you on honorable women’s awards.

What’s International Women’s Day、by the way?

It is one of the commemorative days established to respect gender equality in the economic, political, and social status of women worldwide.

Every year, March 8th is designated as International Women’s Day, and activities promoting social change, symbolized by the color purple representing justice and dignity, and the color green representing hope, are spreading globally year by year.

Japan ranks 27th out of 29 countries in the ranking of women’s workability(friendly working environment)

According to the ranking of women’s workability announced by the British economic magazine “The Economist” ahead of March 8th, International Women’s Day, Japan ranked 27th among the main 29 countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The analysis was based on 10 indicators such as the labor participation rate of men and women, wage gaps, and ease of taking childcare leave.

Japan’s percentage of women in management positions in companies was low at 14.6% (compared to the OECD average of 34.2%), and the ratio of female members of the National Diet (House of Representatives) also remained at 10.3% (compared to 33.9% in the same).

A ranking was determined based on 10 indicators such as education and wage disparities between men and women. The survey has been conducted since 2013 as an indicator of the “glass ceiling,” which hinders women’s advancement in 29 out of the 38 OECD member countries.

Regarding the paternity leave system, the magazine praised Japan and South Korea for having the most generous systems within the OECD. However, it pointed out that there are hardly any fathers choosing to stay at home.

Japan, South Korea, and Turkey were noted for women still facing the biggest obstacles in the workplace.

The International Women of Courage Award

The International Women of Courage Award is presented by the United States Department of State. It is awarded to women who have made outstanding contributions to issues such as women’s rights and gender equality.

The award began in 2007, with each country’s representative being selected by embassies, and ultimately around 10 individuals being chosen.

“Sekuhara” (Sexual harassment)

“Praised for Fighting Sexual Harassment” – Former Ground Self-Defense Force Member, Rina Gonoi

Gonoi, who disclosed sexual harassment in the Ground Self-Defense Force and contributed to reform, was selected for this year’s (2024) “International Women of Courage Award,” presented by the U.S. government to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of women’s status.

On the 4th, she attended the award ceremony at the White House. She was blessed by Secretary of State Blinken, who hosted the ceremony, and Jill, the wife of President Biden.

Gonoi appeared in a judo uniform, which she had been familiar with since childhood. After bowing, she received a commemorative shield from Secretary Blinken, which elicited applause from many diplomats and other awardees.

Secretary Blinken praised Gonoi for “fighting sexual harassment in Japan.”

This award is given by the U.S. government to women who have contributed to gender equality and the advocacy of women’s rights and she shedded light on an issue that has been taboo in traditional Japan.

Gonoi’s award is the second for a Japanese person in nine years. Gonoi’s fight was recognized as acknowledging that harassment is a crime.

“Matahara” (Maternity harassment)

To reach this point, she launched the NPO “Matahara Net,” a victim support organization, and popularized the term “matahara” to the extent that it was included in the top 10 buzzwords of the 2014 fiscal year.

She also made policy recommendations to the government and led legislative reforms. However, there are still many women, such as freelancers, female business owners, and female politicians, who are not protected while continuing to work while pregnant, giving birth, and raising children.

Unfortunately, there are also pregnant women who claim the right to call anything harassment.

It is necessary to eliminate the unfairness of employees who only use the system and those who follow the use of the system.

Natural Rights

Natural rights are the inherent rights of humans, such as freedom and equality. Let us strive for a society where the balance between work and life becomes a natural right and where various ways of working are accepted.

“Courage to Speak Up” – NPO Matahara Net

Thanks for watching, have a nice day!

About the author

古林 茂樹(Shigeki Furubayashi )