business

Japan's bid for economy driven by women faces big hurdles

18 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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© 2014 AFP

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Long working hours, boozy after-work sessions with the boss, and not enough childcare facilities are also among the reasons why many working Japanese women opt to stay at home or give up hopes of promotion after having children.

Not a pretty picture. IMO, it will take at least two generations before you see any significant change to the real impact of women in senior managment in Japan. And by then, with a rapidly aging population, a declining birthrate, and a debt of about 250% of GDP, it may be too late.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“If you try to achieve numerical targets by any means, it could bring about a skewed situation such as lenient performance assessments for women,” she said. “What is important is giving equal job opportunities to both men and women.”

Kobayashi is right. Affirmative action - which utilizes numerical quotas to determine employment and promotion opportunities - is doomed to failure and has a counter productive impact on attitudes. Ensure truly objective employment evaluation and superior individuals like Kobayashi will rise to the top.

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Many women do not have the means or motivation to join the workforce. The child care facilities are mostly full and have a 3 year waiting list. They are extremely expensive and Abe cut the family subsidy. Most women are unable to work extended hours because of family commitments. Then, there is also the issue of the gender salary gap. It's ok for Abe to state he wants women back in the workforce, but he has done bugger all to make it happen.

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Culture too. Stop idolation of young woman as cute perfect objects and start perception they are independent strong beings

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AlexNoaburgSep. 08, 2014 - 08:22AM JST Culture too. Stop idolation of young woman as cute perfect objects and start perception they are independent strong beings

Which culture is it? lol Nobodys idolating young woman as cute perfect objects. only pervs )))))

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There is more chance of me walking on the sun than Japan doing anything to make women more valuable in society.

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he faces myriad challenges

Actually, he only faces one challenge: convincing Japanese men that women can be as human, competent, boozy, intelligent, conservative/liberal, dumb, insightful, 'stick-to-the-manual,' and creative as Japanese men.

When they finally figure this out, and promote based on skills and abilities required for a specific position rather than on genitalia and age, their companies (and society) will profit. Anyone willing to hold their breath until this happens?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Let women be entrepreneurs without hindering them with too much red tape.

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"Meaningful change in company demographics will only come if more Japanese women want to work and the environment welcomes them, added French sociologist Muriel Jolivet, who has been living and teaching in Japan for years and has written several books on Japanese society.

“These kind of (numerical) goals don’t mean anything,” she said."

As Wolfpack mentioned, "Affirmative Action" -type quotas are counterproductive.

Meaningful change will only come about IF Japanese women want to more actively participate.

With the government also harping on the low birthrate, it doesn't seem likely that more women will choose career over family in much larger numbers.

Many of the happiest women I know are the ones who got married, got pregnant, and then gleefully left their jobs. That was their choice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

than Japan doing anything to make women more valuable in society.

Now there is an idea that can be approached from a few different perspectives.

The post modern feminist view, that states.........

Or an old fashioned (mysoginist view?) that states, "a valuable in society" is subjective

Many women, including my well educated wife (and men) in Japan view full time child-raising as valuable to society. And they are not prepared to give up that role even if or when alternative child care is available.

This reluctance of (some) women to get on the careers train is real and understandable in Japan and part of the reason that we see so few women on the (greasy) ladder to higher things.

Some things are just not attractive to some people.

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Bakeries, coffee shops and other small workplaces in foreign countries are relaxed easy-going places, where the workers have a laugh and exchange gossip with their workmates and customers.

In Japan, they're run like army boot camp. You need to stand attention all day even if there are no customers, perform like a robot, and casual conversation is highly discouraged. My wife, who sent thru this hellish experience, testifies to this.

So what Japanese woman would ever want to return to a Japanese workplace?!?!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Bakeries, coffee shops and other small workplaces in foreign countries are relaxed easy-going places, where the workers have a laugh and exchange gossip with their workmates and customers.

In Japan, they're run like army boot camp. You need to stand attention all day even if there are no customers, perform like a robot, and casual conversation is highly discouraged. My wife, who sent thru this hellish experience, testifies to this.

Excellent comment. So true!

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Some great comments here.

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If you try to achieve numerical targets by any means, it could bring about a skewed situation such as lenient performance assessments for women, she said. What is important is giving equal job opportunities to both men and women.

One of the benefits of putting women in positions of power is that they have voice in the media. And hers is a voice of reason: The focus shouldn't be on putting X number of women in the work force. It should be on reshaping the workforce and work expectations, removing barriers for example that stand in the way of working mothers, so that the best PERSON of any gender lands the job.

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Maternity leave and appropriate day nursery will be fine for young female management trainees but also some kind of childcare centers for after school children as babies will not be babies forever. Childcare center any employees can use.

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I guess some are against women running their own businesses...maybe he/ she thinks she should do nothing so ambitious?

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@bruinfan:

I guess some are against women running their own businesses...maybe he/ she thinks she should do nothing so ambitious?

............................................................................................................

You are right. One example is Abe's wife. Her grandfather created Morinaga but she could not get a job in Morinaga because she is not a man. She could be Chair person quite a while ago, Not even in her family business. There are many cases. She got a job in Dentsu. Not only business but in political field, too. Often born in a prominent family is handicap. No man want to work under boss's daughter. Some companies create separate rooms for male and female in working area. Toshiba did and female engineers created new TV screen that did not have to use special glasses once upon a time. If you notice successful comapnies, they have women managers, too. Of cause very qualified.

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Reform, be it corporate or government, is all well and good. The removal of gender based rules, and laws is a positive first step.

However, if women, and men, want a better working environment, and promotion opportunities, they should do their best to become self employed, or begin an entrepreneurial venture.

The Internet, and technology have come a long way. Working from home is a more viable option now than it was 10 years ago.

Young Japanese people are conditioned to seek out a "job" with a "big company". Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but they should be equally encouraged to look into entrepreneurship.

This is especially true for women, regardless of age. A lot of employers treat their female staff like glorified waitresses, or baby-machines. By working for themselves, women-all people-would receive more benefits and profits from their work. They can build their skills when they are ready, not when some old croc decides they are.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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