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30 Oct 2014

Hifumi Okunuki, Japan Times

Japan: Academic reacting to Supreme Court verdict on pregnancy discrimination says a “more humane and human workplace” is needed

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"'Maternity harassment' verdict benefits women, men — and our humanity", 29 Oct 2014

Last Thursday's Supreme Court verdict in the "maternity harassment" case brought by a physical therapist in Hiroshima was the first of its kind, overturning decades of business-friendly jurisprudence along with rulings from the district and high courts...What shocked me...was that women around the country, far from applauding the verdict, are frothing at the mouth to attack the victim...There seems to be a sense that overwork is somehow unavoidable, so if women want to work, they must accept the same brutal conditions. Thus, having a child is a private matter that causes inconvenience to the company. This is in line with what is called the...model of the perfect worker. It fits in with the man-work-woman-stay-at-home ideal of yore...It is not that women should work as hard as men; nor should they have to quit if they want children. Rather, we need to challenge the slave-driven salaryman model. We need to overturn the self-sacrificing worker-drone mentality and create a more humane and human workplace for men and women alike.