Japanese Workplace Harassment Against Women and the Subsequent Rise of Activist Movements: Combatting Four Forms of Hara to Create a More Gender Equal Workplace
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The Japanese workplace has traditionally been shaped by a large divide between the gender roles of women and men. This encompasses areas such as occupational expectations, job duties, work hours, work pay, work status, and years of work. Part of this struggle stems from the pressure exerted by different sides of society, pushing women to fulfill the motherly home-life role, the dedicated career woman role, or a merge of the two. Along with these demands lie other stressors in the workplace, such as harassment Power harassment, age discrimination, sexual harassment, and maternity harassment, cause strain and anxiety to many Japanese businesswomen. There have been governmental refonns put in place, such as proposals made by the Prime Minister of Japan, in an attempt to combat this behavior. More recently, there have been various activist grassroots groups that have emerged to try to tackle the issues surrounding harassment against women. In this thesis, I make the argument that these groups are an essential component in the changing Japanese workplace, where women are gaining a more equal balance to men. This is done by spreading awareness of the four major forms of harassment that target women to the forefront of societal attention, assisting individuals who have been wronged due to harassment, and working alongside the government to create new initiatives that combat the roots of harassment. In order to do this, I give background information into the traditional expectations of women and men in the workplace in Japan, describe the various forms of governmental legislation that has been created in response to harassment, explain in detail the four different forms of harassment in Japan that are targeting women, and discuss the influence that the Japanese activist movements have had in resisting these forms of harassment.