During these days, I’m interested in gender roles and how it changed in America. It also made me think about gender roles in Japan as well. In gender and sexuality lecture, I learned that nuclear family in early America had clear gender roles. Husband earns money for the family and wife do household labor, which does not have payment. However, these gender roles are changing over time. While I’m listening to the lecture, I wonder whether early American gender role still exist now or not. Professor Renee Kingan explained to me that during World War Two, men had to fight for America. Therefore, women worked instead. From that time, clear gender roles started changing. Even though the war ended and men came back from the war, women still wanted to work. This development was the huge cause of the changing gender roles in America.
In Japan, gender roles are also big issue. Japan also had clear gender roles until Showa era, but now lot of women work outside. What made women to work outside rather than doing housework?
The reason what I think made Japanese women go outside to work is that because the working environment became dramatically better than before. Company realized that women are good at doing neat work and service industry so they hire women for their company. Since then, company set up new law to make women not to quit their job when they married, which was unthinkable before. Maternity leave is one of the examples. This law was set up in 1991, just 26 years ago. We can see how it was difficult for women who have children to work outside. However, I think this is not enough. Women should have more opportunity to have job or do what they want to do. More laws should be set up for women.
Another issue I want to focus on is there are fewer Japanese women who want to marry. There is also an issue called waiting list for children. These two issues are closely related to each other. The actual situation is that kindergarten is not enough and mother can’t leave children there to go work place. Therefore, women can’t return to their work life. Japanese women working outside don’t want to leave their work place so they refuse to marry and have baby. Even though government set up new laws for women to work, there are more other issues that obstruct.
I remembered my grandfather saying about the gender roles. He passed away few years ago, but he always said to me, “women are the one who should go out and see the world because they bring up children.” In fact, my grandmother (grandfather’s wife) traveled all countries except Africa after they got married. We don’t have to keep gender roles. Men can do housework and women can work outside. I think we can choose the way that it suits to.