2004 RENGO Central Women’s Rally Held

Realize Equal Treatment and Gender Equality on the Job!

11 November 2004
On October 26th and 27th, RENGO held the 2004 RENGO Central Women’s Rally at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight). 1046 attendees (741 female, 305 male) from affiliates and Local RENGOs nationwide participated the rally, vigorously exchanging their opinions in the general meetings as well as in sectional meetings on the theme of "realizing equal treatment and gender equality on the job!"

Photo: General Secretary Kusano offers a speech on behalf of the organizers. (October 26, Tokyo Big Sight) Photo: General Secretary Kusano offers a speech on behalf of the organizers. (October 26, Tokyo Big Sight)
Offering a speech on behalf of the organizers, RENGO General Secretary Kusano reported on the current issues that RENGO is working on. He criticized the fact that pension issues have still not received proper debate in the Diet. He stated that only RENGO has a total vision for the social security system and that the role RENGO will play in establishing a pension system that people can rely on living without worry is extremely big. He continued by saying that RENGO's idea for a pension system for women is insufficient and needs further adjustments to bring it into line with the opinions brought up by affiliates and Local RENGOs. Kusano also touched upon two points that are issues of central importance at this rally: early enactment of law for part-time work and the realization of RENGO demands on revising Equal Employment Opportunity Law between Men and Women. He expressed with determination that RENGO’s movements would tackle those issues head on with all their might.

Following that, the International Women's Year Liaison Group Caretaker Mihoko Ejiri gave a speech. "One should not confuse the term 'same' with 'equal.' Men and women are not the same and yet each should be given equal rights.” She appealed to the crowd saying that “We need to continue to raise our voices." She expressed her expectation that participants would actively talk with each other at this rally on the profound meaning of equal treatment at employment becoming the source of positive inspiration for others.

Assistant General Secretary Hayashi appealed to listeners in her keynote address saying that "in spite of the fact that female workers account for almost 40% of the total workforce, approximately half of them are engaged in unstable, atypical work. Their wages are only about 60% of that of male workers. To correct those differentials, we need to bring about a fundamental revision of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law between Men and Women through the abolition of indirect discrimination." Then she called for an intensification of RENGO movements saying that "without movements from workplaces across the nation, the sort of revision that we want cannot be achieved." Afterwards, Professor Shozo Yamada of Chuo University Law School, Chair of RENGO's panel for revising the Equal Employment Opportunity Law between Men and Women, gave a lecture on "RENGO's demands on revising the Equal Employment Opportunity Law." Professor Yamada emphasized that "gender equality can not be attained just because there is a law. In order to pursue gender equality, you need to utilize the law effectively."

In the afternoon, participants took part in nine sectional meetings in order to exchange their opinions on each meeting’s themes. The next day a general discussion was held along with reports from each of the sectional meetings and then the rally adopted its appeal.

After the rally, attendees raised funds in the amount of 53,562 yen for the relief and condolence of the victims of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.