Celebrating Women’s Month

March is women’s month and I am making it known to hubby as often as I can.

Just kidding.

But in light of what’s been going on around the world, I wanted to celebrate all the awesome and empowered women in my life and also hope that others do so.

This is just a commentary on what I’ve observed here in Japan, but there has been nothing at all about this event in any of the news or any of the Japanese sites I frequently visit. I’m not surprised and very disappointed, of course. For all the strides women have made all over the world, we’re still living in a mostly patriarchal society.

It would be nice if more Japanese men showed more respect towards women, but that won’t be happening soon as you see a lot of older Japanese men in positions of power. This is why I always enjoy seeing women entrepreneurs and powerful women expressing their opinions so strongly on TV. I don’t care if they’re wrong or if their opinions differ from mine, I just want to see strong women.

Women in Japan still do the bulk of the housework and child-raising. Recently, though, a lot more couples are both working while the kids are in school. I think this is a good thing. But even still, a lot of women are working part-time in order to spend the rest of the time doing housework or taking care of kids. Some are happy but others are still worrying about money and not having enough income still. Also, these are really low-paying jobs that don’t really advance their careers. But, I do like that it’s an option for women.

And some women deliberately choose to make less money. One of the reasons why they choose to make less money is because of taxes and health insurance. At a certain threshold, people making less than ¥100000, or about USD$10,000 don’t have to pay taxes or are not required to pay into the Japanese health insurance. This is good if your spouse can get insurance through their jobs.

I remember my co-workers being concerned about this and trying to lessen their income. Any time they’d worked more and went beyond the threshold, they started freaking out. I understand it. Though I’m very glad for my health insurance, it’s quite expensive. At this point, I pay into the system ¥29,300 ten times a year. This is based on my income from the previous year, so this can go up–I have never had the experience of it going down.

But I would rather have it than not. I’m also okay paying for it. However, if you’re earning less, then it would be a concern. Plus, why pay for insurance when you can get it cheaper from your husband’s work? I understand the reasoning behind it, but I wouldn’t want to be limited in my ability to earn. Like I said, these are low-paying jobs with no career advancement. I would rather make more money and pay more in taxes than having my time tied up in a job.

I wish women and men would think about it more seriously. I understand that having money is not the overall goal but a better life satisfaction, but I just think that men should help more with housework so that women can have the time to go out and earn more–if they so choose. But if women want to stay home and do some of the tougher work at home, I also support that. Whatever we choose, it’s fine–just as long as we recognize that we have a choice. The only thing is that there are trade-offs. We can’t possible do everything at one time. Maybe we can postpone some and other times we can do it at another time.

I still want to see more women in positions of power.

Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt

I wish women would talk more about money in public and make it a topic that is not so scary or daunting.

Women are prone to self-limiting beliefs.

I love seeing on the news or on different programs about the women who run their own businesses or have significant roles in companies. We need more examples like that to show younger generations that being a housewife is not the only thing to aspire to. Young girls can be CEOs of companies or mayors of international cities like Tokyo.

Even still, I like that housewives do make money like running businesses online or monetizing their skills: cooking or selling recipes to companies, babysitting, handmade crafts, and sometimes digital skills.

Innovation is good to see. I just want more women to be doing it.

(Note: This has been backdated to publish in March. I discovered this in April after my break, but had written and saved this on March 18.)

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