Editorials 8.8.2018 08:40 am

Empowering women gives a nation power

Hundreds of women of all races gather in Cape Town to protest against gender-based violence and march to parliament, #TotalShutdown, 1 August 2018. Picture: ANA

Hundreds of women of all races gather in Cape Town to protest against gender-based violence and march to parliament, #TotalShutdown, 1 August 2018. Picture: ANA

Discrimination against women is not only morally wrong, it also may be depriving society of valuable inputs from its best and brightest members.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made a priority of creating a society “where women can shine”, but women in that advanced industrial democracy still face an uphill struggle to rid the country of sexism.

That much has become clear in the exposure of a scandal at Tokyo Medical University, after investigators found that, in entrance tests to get into the institution, women’s scores were deliberately cut, while those of men were inflated. This was because the facility’s administrators, men, were convinced that women medics would sooner or later leave the profession to have children or for other reasons.

Investigators say the tampering goes back at least a decade.

As we prepare to mark Women’s Day tomorrow, the Japanese outrage is a reminder that women all over the world are regarded as the “second gender”. They are held back by what society (and, let’s be frank, one that is dominated by men) expects from them and allows them to do.

What happened in Japan shows clearly that discrimination against women is not only morally wrong, it also may be depriving society of valuable inputs from its best and brightest members.

Empowering women empowers not only individuals, it gives more power to an entire nation.

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