Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee, landed himself in trouble following sexist comments during a Japanese Olympic Committee board meeting. It set off a firestorm at home and abroad which eventually led him to step down from the post. He has been replaced by Seiko Hashimoto, a woman who has competed in seven Olympic Games.
His resignation was the result of an online campaign, which was led by a 22-year-old economics student, Momoko Nojo. Nojo used #DontBeSilent on social media platforms to gather support for a petition calling for action against him. An activist in her own right, Nojo’s campaign saw more than 150,000 signatures leading the way to the fall of Mori.
“I thought it was really great,” says Momoko Nojo
Nojo shares that she is overjoyed to have received such support for her campaign. She feels that there is much to achieve when it comes to gender equality in Japan. With gender discrimination, pay gaps and stereotyping are rampant in the country, Japan needs more women like Nojo to come forward.
“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,” Nojo told CNN.
Japan is ranked 121st out of 153 countries on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index. Scoring worst among advanced nations, there is a lot of work to be done in the country in all fields. Nojo shares that she doesn’t want the coming generations to encounter this problem. And hence is determined to work towards becoming a voice that can bring a change in the nation.
“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 said. “I don’t want our next generation to spend their time over this issue.“