TOKYO: Japan’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law to encourage female candidates to stand for elections in a country where women are vastly underrepresented in politics.
Under the new law, political parties are urged to make the number of male and female candidates as equal as possible and are encouraged to set targets for gender parity. But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made increasing female participation in the workforce a key plank of his economic policies as Japan struggles with a labour shortage. But only 47 of the 465 members of parliament´s lower house are women, a ratio of 10.1 percent that puts Japan behind Myanmar and Gambia in terms of female government representation, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.