香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「女性ならでは」の意味 /東京

September 14, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: The meaning of a 'perspective unique to women'
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「女性ならでは」の意味 /東京

The new Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was launched on Sept. 3. He appointed a record-tying five women to ministerial positions, and has established a new post -- minister in charge of promoting women's active participation. He told a news conference that he hopes the new women ministers make creative changes from a "perspective unique to women." I think the latest ministerial appointment reflects the prime minister's policies on encouraging women in the workforce.

In addition, the Cabinet Office has recently invited women of different ages to a meeting to discuss women's participation in the workplace.

But what I don't quite understand is what Prime Minister Abe means by a "perspective unique to women."

Abe's wife First Lady Akie talked passionately about "peace-making from a women's perspective" at a seminar last year in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, which was hosted by a local women's group. She went on to say, "Women are straightforward, driven by their instincts. Men want to rationalize themselves."

I believe what First Lady Akie meant by "women's peace-making" was that women "don't want wars, but want to protect lives and get along with foreign countries" -- a straightforward way of thinking about peace -- and I am all for that.

So, when her husband says making "creative changes from a perspective unique to women," is he saying that he means what she said?

Women in general value people's lives and health, as well as community and solidarity, and they care for the weak. They feel that what they need is a feeling of security, rather than surviving through fierce competition, and that people of all kinds need to get along. Those are the beliefs that are unique to women, as women have been forced into a socially vulnerable position and struggled for a long time in a man's world.

Some of the new women ministers, however, have made bitter remarks toward neighboring Asian countries. At least one minister has said she became a politician to "defend Japan's honor." Of course, I'm not saying that these comments would directly affect their duties as ministers, but I can't help questioning their position, because they don't necessarily appear to care about the weak or minorities. They seem to lack a cooperative attitude of "let's get along and help each other."

I wonder what kind of "perspective" Prime Minister Abe expects from these women ministers.

I see many women at my clinic who suffer from problems that particularly affect women, such as poverty, domestic violence and enduring stress from taking care of their elderly parents. I sincerely hope that these women ministers take notice of less fortunate women and help them survive in difficult times.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年09月09日 地方版

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