Tokyo 2020: Do not be silent — How a 22-year-old girl helped carry down the Tokyo Olympics chief

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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 in opposition to Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020.

He give up 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 ladies speak an excessive amount of. Nojo used it on Twitter and different social media platforms to assemble help for a petition calling for motion in opposition to him.

“Few petitions have gotten 150,000 signatures earlier than. I believed it was actually nice. Folks take this personally too, not seeing this as solely Mori’s downside,” stated a smiling Nojo in a Zoom interview.

Her activism, born from a yr learning in Denmark, is the most recent instance of ladies exterior mainstream politics in Japan taking to keyboards to carry social change on this planet’s third-largest economic system, the place gender discrimination, pay gaps and stereotyping are rampant.

“It made me realise that it is a good alternative to push for gender equality in Japan,” stated Nojo, a 4th-year economics pupil at Keio College in Tokyo.

She stated her activism was motivated by questions she has typically heard from male friends like, “You are a woman, so you need to go to a highschool that has fairly faculty uniforms, do not you?” or “Even when you do not 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 stated, made her realise how a lot Japanese politics was dominated by older males.

Keiko Ikeda, a professor of schooling at Hokkaido College, stated it was necessary for younger, worldly folks to lift their voice in Japan, the place choices are usually made by a uniform group of like-minded folks. However change will come agonisingly slowly, she stated.

“In case you have a homogeneous group, it is impossibly tough to maneuver the compass as a result of the folks in it do not realise it when their choice is off-centre,” Ikeda stated.

Nojo dismissed a proposal this week by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Get together to permit extra girls in conferences, however solely as silent observers, as a poorly-executed PR stunt.

“I am undecided if they’ve the willingness to basically enhance the gender subject,” she stated, including that the social gathering wanted to have extra girls in key posts, moderately than having them as observers.

In actuality, Nojo’s win is barely a small step in a protracted battle.

Japan is ranked 121st out of 153 international locations on the World Financial Discussion board’s 2020 World Gender Hole Index — the worst rating amongst superior international locations — scoring poorly on girls’s financial participation and political empowerment.

Activists and lots of bizarre girls say drastic change is required within the office, and in politics.

“In Japan, when there’s a difficulty associated to gender equality, not many voices are heard, and even when there are some voices to enhance the state of affairs, they run out of steam and nothing modifications,” Nojo stated.

“I do not need our subsequent era to spend their time over this subject.”

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