Global Labor Rights Politics

The Japanese Government is Being Sued for Institutional Sexism

For the first time, the Japanese government is being sued by a civil servant for “institutional sexism.”

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

The plaintiff, who asked not to be identified, is alleging that the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry, where she has worked in her current position since 1989, has unlawfully withheld promotions and pay increases – because she is a woman. She is suing for more than 6 million yen in damages, an amount equivalent to what she would have earned if she had been promoted and compensated at the same rate as her male counterparts.

The civil servant said she is launching the lawsuit now “in the hopes that my action will help eradicate discrimination against women and rectify the under-valuing of what women do.” She continued, “No matter how much we contribute or how well we perform, we stand virtually no chance of advancing in our careers.” 

Of the arguments made, the complaint alleges that the human resources department is predominantly male, ensuring jobs are more frequently filled by male employees. The Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry is tasked with enforcing Japan’s Equal Employment Opportunity Act for Men and Women.
Media Resources: Japan Times 10/21/14; The Telegraph Newspaper 10/22/14

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