30 January 2007

mother machines

I came across this article in The Age today. Women are 'birth-giving machines' according to Japan's Health Minister....of course everyone has to blame women for a falling birth rate....

Fury at Japan MP's baby gaffe
Tokyo, January 30, 2007

Japan's Health Minister has angered female voters by describing women as "birth-giving machines" and imploring them to "do their best" to halt the country's declining birthrate.
In a speech to Liberal Democratic Party members in western Japan, Hakuo Yanagisawa said women of child-bearing age should perform a public service by raising the birthrate, which fell to a record low of 1.26 children per woman in 2005. Experts say an average fertility rate of 2.1 children is needed to keep the population stable.

"The number of women aged between 15 and 50 is fixed," Mr Yanagisawa, 71, said. "Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can do is ask them to do their best per head … although it may not be so appropriate to call them machines."

Mr Yanagisawa's reported admission that the description had been "too uncivil" failed to silence his critics. "It was extremely rude towards women," said Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama.

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