The incident comes amid a push by the government to increase the number of working women as a way to boost the economy and illustrates deep-seated conservative attitudes in Japan, where many men still believe that a woman’s place is in the home.
City assembly member Ayaka Shiomura, 35, was talking about measures to support child raising and boost fertility during a session on Thursday when male lawmakers interrupted her with cries of “Go and get married” and “Can’t you give birth?”
She later said most of the calls came from the direction of seats where majority assembly members, including those from prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, were sitting.
“I could take jeers about my policies, but I do not think these were appropriate comments to make regarding women,” she later wrote on Twitter.
Abe’s economic reform plan, due out next week, calls for raising the proportion of women corporate managers to 30% by 2020 from last year’s 7.5% as well as creating 400,000 new day care places to enable women to raise children and work.
But women in Japan are often encouraged to leave their jobs after having children. Many working women face menial demands such as serving tea to male colleagues.