Tokyo Olympic head Yoshiro Mori says women talk too much, drawing fierce backlash
Controversial remarks on women by the head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee have drawn criticism from a female director of the Japanese Olympic Committee and on social media, delivering a fresh blow to an even that is already facing strong public opposition.
During an online meeting of JOC councilors Wednesday Feb 4,, Yoshiro Mori said that women talk too much in meetings and suggested that speaking time for women should be limited, referring to the JOC’s plan to increase the number of women on its board.
“The education ministry has been very insistent about choosing female directors. But a board meeting with plenty of women will make it drag on,” Mori said.
The 83-year-old cited his experience as a former president of the Japan Rugby Football Union, saying, “Women have a strong sense of rivalry. If one (female) member raises her hand to speak, all the others feel the need to speak too. Everyone ends up saying something.”
After the meeting, JOC director Kaori Yamaguchi, who has worked tirelessly for years to revitalize the male-dominated sports world by increasing the presence of women, criticized Mori for his comments.
“Gender equality and consideration for people with disabilities were supposed to be a given for the Tokyo Games. It is unfortunate to see the president of the organizing committee make such a remark,” she said.
The JOC has set a goal of increasing the number of women on its board of directors to 40%. Women currently comprise only 20% of members.
“Somebody told me that if we increase the number of women (on the board), we have to also restrict their speaking time to an extent. Otherwise they’ll never stop, which is problematic,” Mori said.
On social media, Twitter users quickly began calling for Mori to resign.
Others on social media suggested the former prime minister’s age — and his outdated attitude — were the real problem.
As part of its strategic roadmap, the International Olympic Committee in 2014 set the goal of achieving 50% female participation and encouraging mixed-gender team events in the games.
It succeeded in having women make up 48.8% of athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, with plans to make the 2024 Olympics in Paris the first to feature an equal number of male and female participants.
With less than six months to go until the Tokyo Olympics, Mori also reiterated that the games will be “held at any cost,” brushing aside rumors that they would be postponed again or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.