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East Asians think men and women are equal in political skills

Though female leadership is low in East Asia, many people believe women and men make equally good political leaders
East Asians, political skills, female leadership, good political leaders, female representation

Women in traditional outfits visit before Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida takes part in a question and answer session in the lower house of parliament in Tokyo on Oct. 11, 2021. Japan was ranked 138 among the 146 countries in terms of political empowerment of women in 2023. (Photo: AFP)


Published: March 20, 2024 04:06 AM GMT
Updated: March 20, 2024 05:37 AM GMT

More than 75 percent of people in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam say that women and men are equal in terms of political leadership skills, according to a recent survey.

“Despite the current and historic lack of female leadership in East Asia, many people across the region believe that women and men make equally good political leaders,” the Pew Research Center’s 2023 survey published on March 18 said.

Japan reported the highest share of respondents (86 percent) who said that men and women both generally make good leaders.

Japan also had the lowest share of people who said that only men make better leaders (9 percent).

Pew Research pointed out that Japan has never had a female prime minister and the lack of female representation in its politics has created increasing attention and activism.

In the 2021 general election in Japan, 45 women were elected to the 465-seat legislature securing 9.6 percent of the total number of seats.

Japan was ranked 138th among the 146 countries in terms of political empowerment of women which stood at 5.7 percent, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 published by the World Economic Forum.

Meanwhile, eight in ten (80 percent) of those surveyed in South Korea said that women and men political leaders were equally good, Pew Research said.

Similarly, some 79 percent of respondents in Hong Kong and 76 percent of respondents each in Taiwan and Vietnam were also of the same opinion.

The survey also noted that the number of respondents who felt that only men could perform better as political leaders was on the higher side as compared to those who supported only women.

Vietnam had the highest percentage of respondents (20 percent) who said that men were better. This was followed by Hong Kong (18 percent), South Korea (16 percent), and Taiwan (13 percent).

In Taiwan, the view that men make better political leaders is less common among those who feel close to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (8 percent) and more common among those who support the opposition Kuomintang (25 percent).

The percentage of respondents who said that only women were good and capable political leaders stood at less than 5 percent across all the countries surveyed.

Vietnam recorded the highest percentage of respondents at 4 percent followed by Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong at 3 percent.

Taiwan had the lowest percentage (2 percent), saying only women were good as political leaders.

“Across the five places surveyed, men are generally more likely than women to say that men make better leaders,” Pew Research said adding that no more than 25 percent of men in the countries surveyed were likely to say this.

“Women are generally no more likely than men to say that women make better leaders,” Pew Research added.

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