It took less than two weeks for Momoko Nojo’s #DontBeSilent campaign to reach 150,000 signatures. The 22-year-old Japanese university student initiated the online movement to hold Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo Olympics chief, accountable for the disparaging and sexist comments he made against women.
Following the widespread public backlash against him, Mori resigned from his position within Tokyo 2020. Already his replacement has been chosen and instated, with seven-time Olympic games participant Seiko Hashimoto taking on the role.
The recognizable hashtag associated with the campaign, #DontBeSilent, originated from comments Mori made stating that women talk too much,
Nojo, a fourth-year economics student at Keio University in Tokyo, said that the event “made me realize that this is a good opportunity to push for gender equality in Japan”. Back in 2019, Nojo founded her nonprofit “NO YOUTH NO JAPAN”. An organization that inspires youth involvement and participation in political affairs. Since then she has worked to promote youth activism and leadership across Japan.
Japan currently ranks the worst amongst advanced countries in regards to their gender gap. Placing 121st out of 153 countries for its abysmal inclusion of women in spaces of politics and economics.
“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,” said Nojo.
“I don’t want our next generation to spend their time over this issue.”