Vol.32-No.03 March 1,1993
Inauguration by the United Nations of (the International Women's Year) (1976) and the International Women's Decade (1976-1985) sparked growing global moves toward the improvement of the position of women in society. Specifically the aims are "Equality, Development and Peace," and opening of the "world Women's Congress," formulation of the "World Action Program" and "adoption of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women." What is more, the Nairobi World Congress of the International Women's Decade met in 1985 and confirm that efforts must continue toward the year 2000 to achieve goals for the International Women's Decade. The Japanese government acted in concert with UN efforts and established a Women's Affairs Planning Promotion Headquarters in 1976 and formulated a domestic action program in 1977. During the International Women's Decade, the government promoted consolidation of legislation for realizing the equality of men and women and in 1987 formulated a new domestic action program aimed at achieving various goals by the year 2000. Furthermore, in 1991 the government strengthened the program with an overall goal of. "formation of a society which supports joint participation of the both sexes".
The 1992 white paper on women reports on how measures and policies on women have progressed since 1988. It analyzes the following seven areas: population and the family, women's lives ((life course), living time and participation in society), women's awareness (division of labor according to sex, views on marriage and family), participation in public activities (female participation in policy-and decision-making in political, administrative, legal and international fields), educational trends, employment trends and women and their lives in old age. The white paper introduces mutually relevant phenomena observable in the nation in which aging of the population progresses rapidly, such as higher educational attainment, (the tendency to marry later) and (the declining birthrate). At the same time, it points out as an issue to be examined, the fact that despite more women participating in society, the Japanese as a whole still hold on to the traditional sex-based division of work.
The white paper also features analysis of female participation in public activities. Women account for 6.5 percent of Diet members, 9.6 percent of national government council members and 5.5 percent of the nation's judges. In addition, increasing numbers of women are obtaining international organization jobs, such as at the UN Secretariat and represent Japan in international conferences such as the UN General Assembly. The percentage of decision making positions in national councils filled by women, which stood at 2.4 percent in 1975 and has now surged to about 10 percent. Yet "the percentage still lags considerably," the white paper states.
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