The 2nd ICR-Pre-Strategic Initiative Joint Seminar: “What is the Political Environment for Women Parliamentarians?”
The University of Tsukuba’s Pre-Strategic Initiative “Center for Empirical Social Science Research Toward Policy Solutions for Disparities and Inequalities,” adopted in FY2021, will continue to hold seminars on a variety of topics including digital technology, gender, educational disparities, and generational disparities, with the aim of policy solutions for disparities and inequalities. The Center will continue to hold seminars on a variety of topics, including digital technology, gender, education, and generational disparities.
Summary of the seminar
The second seminar, held on November 15, 2021, invited Ms. Mari Hamada, co-researcher of the Gender Research Institute at Ochanomizu University and representative of Stand By Women, to give a lecture titled “Activities of Stand by Women, a project to support female legislators and candidates.
The lecture began with an overview of the activities of Stand by Women, a support group for female legislators and candidates, and an explanation of the background behind its launch. Currently in Japan, the number of female Diet members is very low, and there are various discussions and studies on how to increase the number. While working on the issue of harassment against female Diet members, Ms. Hamada realized the seriousness of the problem through interviews with female Diet members, which led her to launch Stand by Women.
She then introduced the results of a Cabinet Office survey conducted in 2021 on the issues faced by local council members. Among these, the items in which there were particular differences between men and women were discrimination and sexual harassment based on gender. Ms. Hamada reported that even through the interviews she had conducted, she had found that the frequency of harassment was far greater among female council members, and that the nature of the harassment was far more serious.
Next, a report on a survey focusing on online harassment was presented. The most common online harassment was reported to be in private places such as direct messages, the most common perpetrators were “netizens” and stalker-like individuals, and the characteristics of the victims were most severe in the first term of office. The characteristics of the victimized lawmakers were that the victims were most serious in their first term. It was also discussed that the perception that local legislators are more familiar to the public than Diet members may lead to a structure that makes them more prone to harassment. It was also pointed out that concerns about secondary damage, the suppression of female Diet members themselves as “public figures,” and the necessity of activities to garner votes make it difficult for them to speak out against the harassment, and that the damage leads to atrophy in their activities as Diet members.
Based on this awareness of the problem, the specific activities of Stand by Women were introduced, including support for SNS operations by female staff. In addition, the organization will continue to expand its activities, such as holding anti-harassment lectures for legislators and creating a website on online harassment.
Participants asked questions such as “What kind of people are the members of Stand by Women? Are there any similarities in the characteristics of perpetrators? The seminar was a success and showed the growing awareness of the issue.
|Date and Time
|Monday, November 15, 2021, 13:00-14:30
|About the activities of Stand by Women, a project to support female legislators and candidates.”
Mari Hamada (Ochanomizu University Gender Research Institute, Stand by Women Representative)
|How to apply