3rd Issue of 2008 No,148

Survey of Buraku Women in Osaka

Multiple Discrimination against Buraku Women

The Osaka Prefectural Association of the Buraku Liberation League (BLL Osaka) conducted a survey in summer 2008 into the conditions faced by Buraku women in Osaka. BLL Osaka held a meeting on February 7 to analyze the findings in order to incorporate them into future programs of the liberation movement.

The survey was conducted during the months of July and August 2008 in collaboration with branches of BLL Osaka. The survey took the form of a questionnaire. 1,314 women aged between 10 and 90 participated. The government previously conducted surveys of Buraku conditions every ten years. However, government’s surveys focused on Buraku neighborhoods as a whole and lacked a perspective specifically focused on women, so they failed to produce findings from multiple perspectives. The current survey was intended to develop precise knowledge about the conditions faced by Buraku women. A comparative analysis with data regarding Buraku men and the population of Osaka prefecture was also planned. The findings will be utilized by BLL Osaka in planning future programs in the areas of education, welfare, employment and community development.

The questionnaire covered various topics including household composition and income, education, health, employment, awareness of certain issues, Buraku issues, human rights issues and single-mother families. The responses proved to be very interesting.

The summary revealed interesting findings. Regarding households, elderly people accounted for the largest proportion (nearly 30%) of families with the lowest incomes (500,000 to one million yen per year). This was followed by single-mother households with incomes of one to 1.5 million yen per year, accounting for about one quarter of all responses. Regarding education, 38.2% of respondents only completed up to primary or junior high school, compared with 21% for Osaka prefecture. 35.6% completed high school (46.8% for Osaka prefecture). Only 3.7% completed college or graduate school (8% for Osaka prefecture). These figures clearly indicate a significant gap in academic achievement. Regarding parents' expectations for their children’s academic achievement, 18% want their female children to go to college, and 30.4% want their male children to go to college. Those who use computers at home or in the workplace account for 43.7% of respondents, which is 25 points below the Osaka prefecture figure of 43.7%.

Regarding employment, 64.7% of respondents reported being in paid employment, which is 20 points higher than the average for women in Osaka prefecture. The figures for Buraku women aged between 20 and 70 are 20 to 30 points higher than the same age groups for women in Osaka prefecture, and almost even with men.

With regard to the industries female workers engage in, almost half reported working in "the medical-care and welfare sector" or "the public sector." This reflects the success of initiatives undertaken by the liberation movement to secure work for Buraku women.

Regarding the Buraku issue, while 46.7% of respondents reported sometimes feeling anxiety about "being subjected to discrimination," only 15.2% want to conceal their Buraku background. This indicates respondents do not see their background negatively, but feel anxious about the possible discrimination they may face. To the question of the types of occasions in which Buraku people are likely to be subjected to discrimination, "marriage" accounts for nearly 70%, "employment" and "romantic relationships" both account for nearly 60%, and "in daily life" accounts for nearly 50%.

Regarding experiences of discrimination, 15.6% of respondents answered they personally experienced discrimination, while 11.2% answered they have never personally experienced discrimination, but have witnessed other people being discriminated against. 33.2% reported having experienced marriage-related discrimination (either opposition to their marriage or refusal to marry), while 63.3% reported not having had such experiences.

In the comments section, respondents wrote about their personal experiences of domestic violence, sexual harassment, power-related harassment and Buraku discrimination in very vivid detail. BLL Osaka will conduct further analysis and prepare a report.

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