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Plenary Session Abstract in English (SSSP 126th Biannual Conference)

 

2013年5月2日

Chair : Kimiko  KIMOTO (Hitotsubashi University) and Kazue ENOKI (Hosei University)

 Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society, implemented in 1999, established the realization of a gender-equal society as “the most important issue that will determine the society of our country in the 21st century.” Today, more than a decade after the law’s implementation, its ultimate goal will be confirmed once again and the possibilities for gender equality in social policy will be explored, with a focus on labor issues. The first report discusses the disparities in the workplace and strategies to resolve them. A comprehensive problem proposal is offered for realizing the principle “equal pay for equal work” for wage disparity adjustment. The second report examines care labor as a contact point between the household and labor. In the third report, the taxation and social security systems of Japan will be observed from the perspective of the relationship between labor and the child allowance system. This report also examines how society is breaking away from the “male breadwinner” structure.

 

Abstract

1. Economic Gap and Equity among Employees -Aiming at a Transformation from “Japan’s 1960’s System” to a New Social System-

                                                  Koshi ENDO (Meiji University)

 

  “Japanese employment practices” and “male bread-winner families” have been tightly bound each other in the 1960’s in Japan.  This bind shall be called “Japan’s 1960’s System.”  This social system has been accepted and perpetuated for a long time since then, as many consider it to be the system most fitting for the development of Japanese economy.  However, this system was also characterized by economic gaps across gender lines and between regular and non-regular employees.  This inequality has resulted in discrimination against female and non-regular employees.

   Recently, the conditions for the existence of “Japan’s 1960’s System” have begun to disappear. But, the economic gap and discrimination described above still exists. This has become a growing problem in Japanese society.

   I will overview the present situation of “Japan’s 1960’s System”.  I will then argue that a return to the traditional system is not a valid solution to the present social problem, but that an effort to establish a new social system built on the job-based employment practices and the diverse family structures is a true solution.

  The job evaluation system based on the pay-equity principle is a fundamental part of this true solution. I will cite where its research and development have attained feasibility and which system is the more preferable to Japanese employees between two.  In addition, I will describe the great opportunity for young researchers to play an essential role in developing a true solution incorporating this new job evaluation system based on the pay-equity principle.

2. Visiblization of Care as Work in Social Policies: Issues of the Long-term Care Insurance System Uncovered through Paid Care Work Assessment

Mie MORIKAWA  (National Institute of Public Health)

The ten years since the implementation of the Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society coincide with those following the implementation of the long-term care insurance system. The long-term care insurance system came into effect in 2000 with a principle of “socialization of care” based on the intention that society as a whole would support the care work that had been placed on many women as unpaid work within families. This system has expanded rapidly as a result of 1) the sound financial foundation attained by reforming the social insurance system and 2) the introduction of a system which has enabled the provision of care services in large quantity due to quasi-marketization of care provision. The system expansion also implies progress in laborization of care work in the sense that the expansion produced a large number of care workers.

Such trends can also be interpreted as a movement of Japan’s social policies breaking away from the “male breadwinner model,” which supports the labor framework consisting of “male, productive, paid work” and “female, reproductive, unpaid work.” On the other hand, the long-term care insurance system has been facing a lack of sustainability in the aspect of reproduction of workers, which suggests that there are serious issues brought about during the process of visiblization of care provision through quasi-marketization (identification of care work as a subject of social and economical assessments).

In this presentation, using the example of home-visit care services, it will be shown that visiblization of care work through the long-term care insurance system entails serious issues. Specifically, these issues lie not only in the social and economic status of care workers such as the wage and conditions of employment but also in the normative aspect including establishing the assessment criteria care work. On that basis, it will be discussed that the care work value system imposed as the norm by the long-term insurance system is distinctive in that it relies on a double fiction of “fictitious labor” and “fictitious commodities.” Then, it will also be argued that such a care work value system itself imposes a certain limitation on the operation of the system. Finally, based on the discussions from the presentation, an outlook will be presented on 1) assessments of Japan’s future activities in the sphere of reproduction, including care work, and 2) visions of Japan’s welfare pluralism.

3. Child Allowance as the Linkage and Gender Equality

Akemi KITA (Fukui Prefectural University)

  Social insurance-centered policy lacking in demogrants and “male breadwinner-centered policy” lacking in the principle of equal pay for work of equal value interact with one another. This is one of the major reasons why Child Allowance has been vulnerable and why various arguments against Child Allowance have been produced in Japan. The following were two typical views to oppose the Child Allowance Law enactment in the late 1960’s.

“What is the purpose of ……Child Allowance? If it aims at a modification of wages or means a kind of social security benefit, it is not appropriate to supply upper-income earners without income test.” “If it aims at increase in the birthrate, I won’t agree to the proposal that forces the national economy to bear the financial burden of Child Allowance not so effective for such a purpose while the Ministry of Health and Welfare overlooks “abuses” of the Eugenic Protection Act. (Juitsu KITAOKA).”

“There will be no need for introducing Child Allowance if we improve tax allowance for dependants and family allowance as a part of wages up to the level of actual living expenses.” “The cost of bringing up children should be included in wages as the reproduction cost of labor force.” (Shigeru AOKI)

In some cases, critics argue that substantial day nursery services can replace Child Allowance, or they say the priority should be given to benefits for single mothers or to measures to tackle child poverty instead of Child Allowance payable to rich two –parent families. In other cases, critics argue that employment support for young people and women is more important than Child Allowance by cash limited to childrearing family. These arguments are also influenced by the two interacted absences of demogrants  and the principle of equal pay for work of equal value mentioned above. But, In reality, the deterioration of Child Allowance would accelerate the poverty of women and younger generations because  these are one and indivisible phenomena.

I would like to discuss here that child Allowance is essentially not only the linkage between social insurance and public assistance but also one between minimum wage  and social security benefits. The lack and institutional vulnerability of it would negatively affect the totality and consistency of social policy and would pave the way for market fundamentalism re-strengthening gender bias. These days, the reduction scheme of public assistance, which will be greater damages to families with a greater number of children, is attracting a great deal of attention. This problem is also concerned with the fact that Child Allowance does not have a proper and important place in Japanese social policy.

[Special Lecture] The participation of women in the labour market and childcare investment: views from Europe

Margarita León (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Downloading a paper to read pdf_s

    One of the most important changes that have taken place in European societies since the 1960s and 1970s has been the incorporation of women to paid employment. The industrial economy pretty much built around male workers has given way to a service economy changing jobs and also workers. These changes in employment together with changes in the role of women has brought about a wide number of tensions and conflicts in modern European societies. This presentation will firstly focus in the tensions that exist between the participation of women in paid employment and fertility looking at changing dynamics and existing tensions in both female employment and fertility. Secondly, the presentation will analyze developments in childcare provision (Early Childhood Education and Care – ECEC) within the framework of a proposed paradigmatic change of welfare states through ‘social investment’. The presentation will give an overview of the current academic and political debate around the pros and cons of expanding service provision for small children (that is, children under compulsory school age). Developments in ECEC at least at the European level have certainly been backed up by a vast amount of research that prove, albeit with different emphasis, positive links between investment in ECEC and (1) female labour force participation, (3) fertility dynamics (3) children’s opportunities in life and (4) productivity imperatives in the knowledge-based economy. Despite the fact that causal connections are very difficult to identify (Gerda & Andersson 2008), it truly exists strong empirical evidence on the connections between the labour market participation of women –specially mothers with under school age children- and availability of childcare provision and/or other family-oriented policies (Kamerman & Moss 2009; Boje & Ejnraes 2011). Family policies oriented towards female employment –such as availability of public childcare- have a positive impact on levels of female employment (Gauthier, 2007) and vice-versa. However, there are significant differences between European countries not just in levels of ECEC coverage but on aspects related to the quality of the provision. Furthermore, it is important to look at ECEC development within broader policies for the reconciliation of work and family life, mainly forms of flexible but secured employment and parental leave schemes. The presentation will finally give an overview of the present challenges and dilemmas that European countries face nowadays with expanding ECEC services in the context of strong austerity social and economic programmes that the EU is imposing on member states as a response to the economic crisis.