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橘高ルイーズ・ジョージ氏、EAP 2において日本における「ワーキングマザー」について語る

2019年06月19日 更新|  印刷印刷する
EAP 1 Lecture Kittaka - 6.jpg

On April 19th, 2019, Ms. Louise George Kittaka, a writer and university lecturer, visited Rikkyo University and shared her ideas on working mothers in Japan in an EAP 2 (English for Academic Purposes 2) session. Ms. Kittaka discussed three issues facing working mothers in Japan: 1) inadequate childcare, 2) child-raising obstacles facing mothers, and 3) the absence of female role models. She also drew on her own personal experiences of raising her own children while pursuing a career.

First, Ms. Kittaka raised the issue of inadequate support and funds for childcare, which would allow more working mothers to contemplate having both a career and children. This results in many women sacrificing their careers in order to take care of their child. Ms. Kittaka points out that child care does not end at nursery or kindergarten. While many focus on this period, in actual fact there is increasing pressure on parents as a child grows older. These include attending school activities or meetings, which prove to be an additional obstacle for working parents.

Second, Ms. Kittaka focused on obstacles facing women in particular, examining the wide-spread notion that child-raising is an issue that applies to women alone. The current situation where husbands dedicate their time to their careers, while spending little time at home, means the bulk of the housework and childcare is done by wives. Ms. Kittaka points out that expectations of corporations should change, to enable both parents to strike a better work-life balance. The government and corporations should not only encourage mothers, but also fathers to participate in home life, enabling husbands to better support their wives. She states, child-raising responsibilities are not just for the mother; it requires the same amount of effort from both parents.

Ms. Kittaka concluded her presentation by calling for an increase in the number of working mothers, especially in management. She points out, that as more female workers climb the ladder, their role in society will change and this can create role models for the next generation. She also calls on managers to encourage working parents to leave work early. Thus, by having more working mothers fill roles in management, it can provide the catalyst for change in Japanese society.

Overall, Ms. Kittaka’s presentation discussed key issues in the environment for working women, and encouraged her audience to understand that by “changing the mindset” it is possible to address the issues that face working mothers.

Article by Julia Natori
(2nd year student; Graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam)
Photos by Herbert Donovan

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