GFJ Commentary

February 26, 2021 

President Mori's Statement and Gender Equality

By KOGA Hitoshi

Males and females are, biologically speaking, very different creatures in terms of organs, hormone dynamics, and so on. Just as children and adults can suffer from different diseases, so can men and women. The male praying mantis is destined to be eaten by the female in order to lay eggs. Males, unfortunately, are unable to conceive and produce offspring. Pregnancy and childbirth are blessings given only to women. There are also societies that are bound by religion. The world is still in its infancy in gender equality, and we need to work together to evolve a society where men and women can positively take advantage of each other's strengths.

Compared to Europe and the United States, where ladies first is a matter of course, Japan used to be male-dominated. However, if we look at today's high school and college students, it is obvious that we are no longer male dominated.

It has said that women have become more serious and outspoken, and if you look at their academic performance alone, they are already head and shoulders above their male peers. In short, women have earned the right to be treated as equals, both at home and in the workplace. We all need to respect each other based on merit rather than on gender.

Women already perform better on an entrance exam at medical schools, including Tokyo Medical University. Therefore, in faculties that aim to prepare students for careers that are more suitable for men, it has become necessary to adjust their grades who are inferior in essays, interviews, etc. In some national universities, there are already more women in medical schools than men. In the U.S., it is said that women are better suited to be astronauts than men.

Doctors in the U.S. and Europe do not work overtime when it comes to contracted hours. They quickly finish their work and go home. In Japan, however, doctors are not allowed to go home unless they finish their work. Also, working-from-home system does not fit well in the medical field. You have to dedicate more time to it than other jobs in general to run the office. Unless we create an adequate work-sharing system, our country's healthcare will collapse.

In order to promote gender equality in all jobs in the future, job sharing is inevitable. Fortunately, the progress of AI is remarkable. Many jobs will be replaced by AI in the future. In countries with declining populations, such as developed countries in Europe, there is a possibility that the redistribution of jobs will increase dramatically due to the effects of the new coronavirus infection. In some countries, work sharing is being promoted and overtime is legally prohibited. Gender equality and redistribution of work are two sides of the same coin.

(This is an English translation of the article written by KOGA Hitoshi, M.D., which originally appeared on the e-Forum “Giron-Hyakushutsu” of GFJ on February 23, 2021.)