Equality & Diversity
When Japanese scientist Haruko Obokata published a groundbreaking research paper on stem cells earlier this year, the media were thrilled — but not because of her work. They were more interested in the traditional Japanese housewife’s apron that she wore, instead of the lab coat you might have expected.
Obokata’s dress choice was savvy. The apron, a symbol of domesticity, made her obvious intelligence more palatable in Japan, where being “cute”, or kawaii is the only social currency women have.
Japan has some interesting problems in this area. There was something on R4 this week about the election there, and the PM stating that one aim was to increase the number of women in the workforce. Apparently 70% of Japanese women give up work when they have children, simply because there is no sense in Japan that parenting is a joint activity. So yeah, I am not surprised at this.