Outrage follows sexist outburst at Tokyo assembly meeting
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0913 GMT (1713 HKT)
- Male colleagues heckled assemblywoman Ayaka Shiomura
- They interrupted her with comments urging her to get married
- They also questioned whether she could bear children.
Tokyo (CNN) -- Outrage is growing in Japan after lawmakers hurled sexist comments at an assemblywoman giving a speech this week about the need for more services for women.
Male colleagues heckled Your Party member Ayaka Shiomura on Wednesday during a Tokyo assembly meeting. They interrupted her with comments urging her to get married and questioning whether she could bear children.
Shiomura had taken the stage to urge the Tokyo Metropolitan government to increase efforts to support women. Citing recent regulations that require mothers to fold up their strollers when boarding a train, she outlined struggles Japanese women face when dealing with pregnancy and raising a child due to lack of public support.
She also addressed the issue of infertility.
However, she was interrupted by a male member of the ruling LDP who shouted, "You should get married!"
Shiomura smiled weakly and continued amid male laughter.
Can 'womenomics' save Japan?
A second outburst, "Can't you even bear a child?" followed as tears welled up in her eyes and her voice began to break.
When she sat down after her speech, she was seen drying her eyes with a handkerchief. Later, she posted on Facebook that the outbursts were like "a punch in the gut" and called on the hecklers to come forward.
Backlash ensued, with television pundits debating the incident and women lawmakers demanding the names of those responsible be released.
Sexism in common in the nation's workplace, and there have been concerns that Japan's fertility rate will continue to drop as more women choose careers instead of marriage and children.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has attempted to fill a gender gap in the workplace through "Womenomics," but men still hold the majority of positions of authority and command greater salaries.
Men in Japan earn 30% more than their female counterparts, according to statistics cited by Abe during an editorial last year announcing the launch of "Womenomics."
Statistics from the National Personnel Authority show just 3% of women are managers in Japan's central government, a number the Prime Minister has said is too low.
The goal is to increase that number to 30% by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Abe has said.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
There's a fine science to running a billion dollar company. Rosalind Brewer should know -- she used to study chemistry.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0949 GMT (1749 HKT)
Join our twitter chat @CNNIwomen on October 9 at 5pm GMT/12pm EST and look for #CNNwomen #IDG14.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
STEM experts from Marissa Mayer to Weili Dai share their thoughts to celebrate International Day of the Girl.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)
When it comes to buildings, they don't come much different than a mosque and a nightclub.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen -- or so the saying goes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
These 12 fashion experts have millions of followers, but who is the most social woman in fashion?
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
Mindy Grossman has been the driving force behind making the Home Shopping Network both hip and profitable, but she still makes time for herself.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Nelly Ben Hayoun is on a mission to convince the world to take threats such as asteroid strikes more seriously.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 0233 GMT (1033 HKT)
Shenan Chuang turned Ogilvy China into the world's third biggest ad agency, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout asks how she did it.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1045 GMT (1845 HKT)
Imagine a gadget that knows your mind better than you do.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
When your grandmother is one of the most famous cosmetics moguls in history, it might put a little pressure on you to succeed.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
When Bobbi Brown set out to create her eponymous makeup line in 1991, she had one thing to her mind -- to make a lipstick that looked like lips.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0914 GMT (1714 HKT)
The Cornell educated executive, who is hotly tipped as the successor to magnate Steve Wynn, is about to unveil the latest Wynn Palace in Macau.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
From Coco Chanel to DVF, CNN takes a look at celebrated fashion designers and the iconic pieces which launched their careers.
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
CNN meets Serbian-born New-York based performance artist Marina Abramovic, as she embarks on the most controversial show of her career.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
She turned her bohemian beach style and love of ballet shoes into a billion-dollar brand. This week on Leading Women, fashion designer Tory Burch reveals her ultimate style guru.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1623 GMT (0023 HKT)
Meet Mo Abudu, the talk show host portraying a very different Africa. As a glamorous presenter, she also heads up Ebony Life TV network, based in Nigeria.