Skip to content

Ueda-Ballmer Weighs In on Japan’s Mental Health Crisis, Gender Inequality in The Nation Article

July 20, 2023

The Nation

Michiko Ueda

Michiko Ueda-Ballmer

Among countries with developed economies, Japan has some of the highest rates of gender inequality. Women are underrepresented in politics, higher education, and the labor force, and face acute gaps in wages. 

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed women further into the margins. Job losses disproportionately affected women in Japan, with a severe financial and psychological toll.

Women started killing themselves at an unprecedented rate. And while the overall suicide rate—which spiked as of 2020—has leveled off amid the easing of pandemic-era restrictions, the rate among women has remained elevated.

“Suicide was always a men’s issue,” says Michiko Ueda-Ballmer, associate professor of public administration and international affairs. During the pandemic, “suddenly, women’s suffering became visible.” For the first time, “the government was forced to confront an approach to suicide prevention that had previously focused exclusively on middle-aged men.” 

Read more in The Nation article, “Gender Inequality Is Driving a Mental Health Crisis in Japan.”

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall