Sexual Harassment: From Two Vantage Points cosponsored by SIETAR Kansai, Nara JALT, Osaka JALT, Kyoto JALT, and GALE SIG

Robert O’Mochain explained the currently observed sensitivity toward sexual harassment by introducing phrases such as, “Political correctness gone mad!,” “How dare he mansplain to a woman about gender issues!” However, the reality is that sexual harassment exists everywhere, particularly in the workplace. O’Mochain introduced a survey on the workplace sexual harassment carried out by the Japanese Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry in 2016. According to the survey, 30% of respondents in full and part-time employment reported that they had been sexually harassed at work. I assume that the figure would have risen further if unreported and marginalized cases had been included. A photograph of a “Watch out for gropers! ちかんにご注意!” sign that O’Mochain took pathetically shows “masculinity culture” is spreading wide even on public transport in Japan. Fiona Creaser talked about the Springboard Women’s Work and Personal Development Program, which was developed in Durham University in the UK. The aim of the program is to empower women to create their own networks of power and safety, and it has been running for over 28 years in 45 countries. Creaser took the initiative in introducing the program into Japan with the funding from the University of Kitakyushu and translated the workbook that has been used in the program. She revealed that how difficult it was to translate the English version into Japanese with consideration for linguistic and cultural difficulties and also revealed that how difficult it is for women to actually participate in the Springboard program, four one-day workshops over three months. A Japanese participant in it had a hard time procuring child care due to a lack of her husband’s understanding about the program. The empowerment of women cannot be achieved without men’s active engagement.

Reviewed by Motoko Teraoka

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