According to data gathered from General Union members who filled out the gender section of the application form when they first joined, 22.5% of our members are women.
We know that women are also subject to unfair labor practices (poor working conditions, unfair layoff practices, sexism, and harassment, to name a few) just as much as men are – and sometimes even more.
So why aren’t more women joining unions?
Personal finance situations, fear of repercussions (especially as women are often first in line when a company wants to downsize), and society gaslighting women into thinking that they are unable to take action are the most common responses.
According to the Japanese government, in 2019, the predetermined salary of “regular workers” is 338,000 yen for men and 251,000 yen for women – an average disparity of 87,000 yen – while the wage gap between men and women (predetermined salary of women when men = 100.0) is 74.3.
REGARDING WOMEN IN THE GENERAL UNION
How does that relate to our members?
Dues are calculated based on an individual’s annual income.
On average, the amount of dues that women pay is 2945 yen compared to 3240 yen for men – a difference of 295 yen.
No big disparity there, but when you understand that most jobs in the education industry are solely based on the job and not the gender (as it should be!), how can we explain this difference?
The answer is that men usually have “higher” job positions than women and therefore get paid more and can contribute better to the union.
Using the results of a survey sent to universities and colleges during a campaign for unlimited contracts, we know that the number of our female members having a full-time position is 16%.
In addition, throughout all the universities and colleges members with unlimited contracts who answered the survey, only 9.3% are women.
“But that’s only the union”, some might say. If the working conditions were so bad, why wouldn’t more women join the union?
At the General Union, we truly believe that better work conditions for everyone – and equal treatment for men and women – would make families happier, and would give the choice to families who don’t want to have the whole financial burden on men to do things differently.
A PERSONAL ANECDOTE
From the article writer:
I’ve wanted to write about “working women” for a while, but just didn’t know where to start. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), COVID-19 provided me with an opportunity:
Recently, my daughter’s daycare was closed to prevent the spread of infection after one member of staff was confirmed with COVID-19.It was an unpleasant experience, albeit entirely necessary. However, what shocked me the most was the wording of the administration, which addressed the closure to “お母様宛て” – “strictly to mothers”.
Why does it only have to be mothers? What about single fathers or just a stay-at-home dad?
It is now 2021, yet society is still of the idea that mothers don’t seem to have other choice than taking care of the family/kids as their primary job. No matter how professional, career orientated, or hard working women want to be, it seems that society will always bring them back to this sacred homemaker position. Don’t get me wrong – some women might want to stay home and look after their family, and that’s fine.
However, that should be a personal choice – not something pushed on people by society or their places of work.
As a side note, something you might want to know: the labor commissions of most prefectures in Japan have a very resourceful special bureau for equity.
You can read an outline of the Equal Opportunity Law here: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyoukintou/pamphlet/dl/01_en.pdf