However in lower than two weeks, Momoko Nojo’s #DontBeSilent marketing campaign organised with different activists gathered greater than 150,000 signatures, galvanising world outrage towards Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020.
He stop final week and has been changed by Seiko Hashimoto, a girl who has competed in seven Olympic Video games.
The hashtag was coined in response to remarks by Mori, an octogenarian former prime minister, that girls speak an excessive amount of. Nojo used it on Twitter and different social media platforms to assemble assist for a petition calling for motion towards him.
“Few petitions have gotten 150,000 signatures earlier than. I assumed it was actually nice. Individuals take this personally too, not seeing this as solely Mori’s downside,” mentioned a smiling Nojo in a Zoom interview.
Her activism, born from a 12 months finding out in Denmark, is the most recent instance of ladies outdoors mainstream politics in Japan taking to keyboards to deliver social change on the earth’s third-largest economic system, the place gender discrimination, pay gaps and stereotyping are rampant.
“It made me realise that this can be a good alternative to push for gender equality in Japan,” mentioned Nojo, a 4th-year economics scholar at Keio College in Tokyo.
She mentioned her activism was motivated by questions she has typically heard from male friends like, “You’re a woman, so it’s a must to go to a highschool that has fairly faculty uniforms, do not you?” or “Even when you don’t have a job after graduating from faculty, you is usually a housewife, no?”
Nojo began her nonprofit “NO YOUTH NO JAPAN” in 2019, whereas she was in Denmark, the place she noticed how the nation selected Mette Frederiksen, a girl in her early forties, as prime minister.
The time in Denmark, she mentioned, made her realise how a lot Japanese politics was dominated by older males.
Keiko Ikeda, a professor of schooling at Hokkaido College, mentioned it was vital for younger, worldly folks to lift their voice in Japan, the place selections are typically made by a uniform group of like-minded folks. However change will come agonisingly slowly, she mentioned.
“When you have a homogeneous group, it’s impossibly troublesome to maneuver the compass as a result of the folks in it don’t realise it when their resolution is off-centre,” Ikeda mentioned.
Nojo dismissed a proposal this week by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Get together to permit extra ladies in conferences, however solely as silent observers, as a poorly-executed PR stunt.
“I am unsure if they’ve the willingness to basically enhance the gender problem,” she mentioned, including that the social gathering wanted to have extra ladies in key posts, fairly than having them as observers.
In actuality, Nojo’s win is barely a small step in an extended battle.
Japan is ranked 121st out of 153 international locations on the World Financial Discussion board’s 2020 International Gender Hole Index – the worst rating amongst superior international locations – scoring poorly on ladies’s financial participation and political empowerment.
Activists and lots of strange ladies say drastic change is required within the office, and in politics.
“In Japan, when there’s a problem associated to gender equality, not many voices are heard, and even when there are some voices to enhance the scenario, they run out of steam and nothing modifications,” Nojo mentioned.
“I do not need our subsequent technology to spend their time over this problem.”