But in lower than two weeks, Momoko Nojo’s #DontBeSilent marketing campaign organised with different activists gathered greater than 150,000 signatures, galvanising international outrage towards Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020.

He give up final week and has been changed by Seiko Hashimoto, a woman who has competed in seven Olympic Games.

The hashtag was coined in response to remarks by Mori, an octogenarian former prime minister, that girls speak an excessive amount of. Nojo used it on Twitter and different social media platforms to assemble assist for a petition calling for motion towards him.

“Few petitions have got 150,000 signatures before. I thought it was really great. People take this personally too, not seeing this as only Mori’s problem,” mentioned a smiling Nojo in a Zoom interview.

Her activism, born from a 12 months finding out in Denmark, is the newest instance of ladies exterior mainstream politics in Japan taking to keyboards to bring social change in the world’s third-largest economic system, the place gender discrimination, pay gaps and stereotyping are rampant.

“It made me realise that this is a good opportunity to push for gender equality in Japan,” mentioned Nojo, a 4th-year economics scholar at Keio University in Tokyo.

Yoshiro Mori, the former President of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee (TOGOC) speaks to reporters at the JOC headquarters in Chuo Ward, Tokyo on Feb. 4, 2021.

She mentioned her activism was motivated by questions she has usually heard from male friends like, “You’re a girl, so you have to go to a high school that has pretty school uniforms, don’t you?” or “Even if you don’t have a job after graduating from college, you can be a housewife, no?”

Nojo began her nonprofit “NO YOUTH NO JAPAN” in 2019, whereas she was in Denmark, the place she noticed how the nation selected Mette Frederiksen, a woman in her early forties, as prime minister.

The time in Denmark, she mentioned, made her realise how a lot Japanese politics was dominated by older males.

Keiko Ikeda, a professor of training at Hokkaido University, mentioned it was necessary for younger, worldly individuals to boost their voice in Japan, the place choices are inclined to be made by a uniform group of like-minded individuals. But change will come agonisingly slowly, she mentioned.

“If you have a homogeneous group, it’s impossibly difficult to move the compass because the people in it don’t realise it when their decision is off-centre,” Ikeda mentioned.

Nojo dismissed a proposal this week by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party to permit extra ladies in conferences, however solely as silent observers, as a poorly-executed PR stunt.

“I’m not sure if they have the willingness to fundamentally improve the gender issue,” she mentioned, including that the social gathering wanted to have extra ladies in key posts, somewhat than having them as observers.

In actuality, Nojo’s win is barely a small step in a lengthy combat.

Japan is ranked 121st out of 153 nations on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index — the worst rating amongst superior nations — scoring poorly on ladies’s financial participation and political empowerment.

Activists and lots of peculiar ladies say drastic change is required in the office, and in politics.

“In Japan, when there’s an issue related to gender equality, not many voices are heard, and even if there are some voices to improve the situation, they run out of steam and nothing changes,” Nojo mentioned.

“I don’t want our next generation to spend their time over this issue.”

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