TV & Radio
Working Women Set Their Sights Higher
TOKYO, May 25 (IPS) - When Manami Sato's mother started work at a large trading company almost three decades ago, she was hired as one of several female assistants, a job that included serving tea and copying files for male managers and was the norm those days
But Sato, 26, who graduated from Aoyama University, a prestigious private institution, and then spent two years in the United States furthering her studies in international business, is not ready to follow in her mother's footsteps.
‘'I have just been promoted to assistant manager in my company,'' says Sato who works for an international finance company she prefers not to name. ‘'I intend to keep working hard in this company till I am ready to move on to something bigger."
Sato, say labour experts, represents the new generation of well-educated Japanese working women who are ambitious, career oriented and have their sights set higher than their mothers did in a male-dominated job market.
‘'The changes we note today in female employment patterns represent important developments in Japan that have occurred within a short time span. It is not an exaggeration to say Japanese women are hardworking and ambitious,'' said Makoto Hosoda, director at ‘Hello Work', a government-supported recruitment office in Tokyo.
Buoyed by Japan's strengthening economy the employment rate for university graduates was a record high -- 96.6 percent for men and 96 percent for women, forming a total of 357,000 new employees, according to the health, welfare and labour ministry.
‘'The employment gender gap in Japan has narrowed significantly for university graduates and will stay that way. Today we also see men and women ready to have long-term careers and prefer to work in companies that can give them these opportunities,'' said Takashi Nagata, an expert at the Daiwa Research Institute.
According to Nagata, who has to his credit a report on newly graduated females, more women are moving out from the clerical sector, as was the tradition, and taking on more challenging jobs in banking, information technology and medicine.
Moreover, they work long hours along with their male compatriots and spend their spare time improving career skills to gain chances at promotion.
New data point to an improving situation for Japanese female workers. For example, labour ministry figures show that women, who till three years comprised a dismal 3 to 4 percent of the senior management positions, now hold between 4 to 10 percent.
On he salary front too there are better signs. Ministry reports indicate the salary-gender gap is closing -- from the earlier 62.8 percent to 66 percent in 2006. This is something of a revolution in Japan where stark wage and promotion differences were once readily accepted.
Says Makiko Ogata at Recruit Company, a leading employment agency: ‘'These days, as the labour market ages, companies do not differentiate between genders so much. Women are even more sought after by managements than before.''
Ogata pointed to several new factors such as the ‘greying population' that is expected to lead to a steep decline in the national labour force. Referred to in Japan as the Big Bang the phenomenon, by 2025, is expected to show up 600 million fewer employees than in 1998.
Ogata also indicated a new report by United Nations Economic nad Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, released this month, showed how gender discrimination in the Asia-Pacific region can result in some 80 billion US dollars worth of economic losses.
‘'Domestic and international trends that influence Japan's diversifying labour market, have contributed to more gender equality here,'' she told IPS.
But experts also point to harsher working environments for women that are accompanying the change.
Nagata's report showed that Japanese women continue to bear the brunt of family responsibilities which restrict their chances of taking up challenging jobs that demand travel or inconvenient work schedules.
‘'Japanese companies have still not adjusted adequately to accept career-oriented women such as by establishing flexible schedules for them or enacting regulations that put pressure on men to take paternity leave,'' he explained to IPS. (END/2007)
Cambridge City Council
Cllr Jenny Bailey appointed Mayor
Cllr Jenny Bailey has been appointed Mayor of the City of Cambridge at Cambridge City Council’s annual meeting on Thursday 24 May.
Jenny has served continuously on the Council since 2002 when she was elected to represent East Chesterton ward. She was appointed Executive Councillor for Planning and Transportation in 2004, a post she held until May 2006 when she became Deputy Mayor.
As Executive Councillor she successfully led the Council’s new parking enforcement role. She also supported the Mayor at civic ceremonial events as Deputy Mayor and as a Ceremonial Bailiff.
Jenny has a strong interest in environmental issues, promoting cycling, waste management and recycling.
She has spent some time on the City Council’s Planning Committee and her interest in planning has involved representing the views of residents in talks with the county council and neighbouring district councils on proposals for the growth of Cambridge.
She has also been a school governor for Chesterton Community College.
Her career background is in radio engineering and she worked for Pye Telecom which later became part of Philips. She has subsequently worked as a telecommunications engineer for a number of companies many of which have been based in Cambridge.
Jenny has chosen two charities to benefit from the fundraising work she will carry out as part of her mayoral duties over the coming year.
Her first charity is Press Relief, an organisation set up by Cambridgeshire Newspapers Ltd, which raises money for facilities that aim to improve the education, health and social welfare of disadvantaged people across the county.
Jenny’s second charity is the Cambridge Museum of Technology which is based on Cheddar’s Lane, Cambridge.
She will be proposed as Mayor at the annual meeting by her fellow ward councillor, Cllr Marian Holness. The nomination will be seconded by Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Labour Group.
Jenny said: “I entered local politics because I believe in public service and because I wanted to make a contribution to the wonderful city we live in. I am honoured that my fellow councillors have now chosen me to be Mayor.
“I want my mayoral year to be about celebrating the unsung heroes of our city. There are many of them.
“They are individuals and organisations that quietly work away making a real difference to people’s lives without expecting any reward or publicity in return.
“They deserve recognition and thanks for their work and I see it as a major part of my job as Mayor to make sure they know how grateful we are.
“There are many also many specific causes I want to highlight in the next twelve months. These include raising the profile of disability issues, supporting events for and on behalf of migraine sufferers and attending meetings of minority religious groups.”
She added: “Over the coming year I’ll be raising funds for two local charities which do a great deal of excellent work.
“Press Relief works to help people in some of the more disadvantaged parts of the county by providing grants for new projects and facilities. I hope to raise enough money over the next year to give their work a well-deserved boost.
“And as a radio engineer I have always thought the Museum of Technology to be one of the treasures of the city. It is run by volunteers who are dedicated to showing how science and technology has helped to shape the unique heritage of our city.
“It offers a wonderful insight into how our city has developed making it a fascinating place for visitors, school children and residents to learn more about Cambridge.”
Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “I am looking forward to supporting Jenny as she takes the leading role in Cambridge’s civic life for the coming year.
“Jenny has fulfilled the role of Deputy Mayor in the past year with great distinction and we already know that she will make a really great Mayor.”
Cambridge's sex-change mayor goes public
By David Sapsted
Last Updated: 11:12am BST 24/05/2007
The residents of an historic university city awoke yesterday to discover that not only had their new lady mayor been born a man, but that their lady mayoress had been, too.
Miss Bailey: 'More things define me than being transgender'
The world's first sex change couple to hold such offices will take over their roles in Cambridge as the city prepares to celebrate 800 years since the appointment of having a mayor.
Mayor-elect Jenny Bailey, a Lib Dem councillor and father of two, and her business and civil partner, Jennifer Liddle, a former city councillor, met while having hormone therapy about 15 years ago as they underwent sex change operations.
Miss Bailey, 45, was forced to go public about her personal life after being approached about it by a reporter on a local newspaper.
"So many more things define me than being transgender - a medical condition I had 15 years ago and which I have now recovered from," she said.
"I'm proud that I managed to get through something which was quite difficult and managed to come out of it a better person. I certainly do not want it to eclipse being mayor.
"If it damages the Cambridge mayoralty I will be so upset. I'm so proud of Cambridge. It's an honour to be mayor."
Miss Liddle, 49, said that a number of people working at the council knew Miss Bailey when she was married man.
"It has been described as the worst kept secret in Cambridge," she said.
The couple live together and run a software company. Miss Bailey, who has two sons aged 18 and 20 - one of whom lives with her - remains on good terms with her ex-wife, who said yesterday that she was "incredibly proud" of her former husband.
"I am incredibly proud of Jenny and the achievements she has made over the last few years," she added.
"She is a totally selfless person who wants to help others and make a positive impact on our community.
"I think she will make an excellent mayor and has major contributions to make. I hope this will be the focus which people concentrate on.
"I feel sad that the emphasis seems to be about the pathetic 'scandal' involved in her past. She is going to be an excellent mayor and this should be the focus."
Miss Bailey said that, as far as she and Miss Liddle were concerned, their sexuality had never been a secret. “The nature of the Cambridge software industry is that I can't go into a company and not meet one of those 2,500 people who worked at Philips (where she was employed when she was a man).
"When I first joined the Liberal Democrats, there was a vetting process and they asked: 'Is there anything in your past that is going to be difficult?' I said I was transgender and they said: 'No, is there anything that is going to be difficult?'."
The Local Government Association confirmed that Miss Bailey was the first transgender mayor known to take office in the country and the news received a mixed reaction on the streets of Cambridge.
"I think it's disgusting," said one woman shopper, who declined to be named.
"For a mayor and mayoress...no way."
Pensioner Ernest Lane added: "What a mess. It doesn't shock me these days but I don't like it at all. It shouldn't be made public, though, like it has been."
However, carpenter Todd Growns said: "It's a bit weird but does it make any difference? As long as they are doing a good job, it's fine."
トランスジェンダーの市長さん「夫妻」＠ケンブリッジ (today's news from uk+)
[News] トランスジェンダー市長誕生に対するメディアの論調～英ケンブリッジ(HODGE'S PARROT)