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Japan should take measures to encourage more women to work, in order to overcome the economic challenges posed by the aging of its population.

27 Comments

Statement by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Jiji Press)

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Get women back to the kitchens and look after children, raise wages, problem solves.

http://www.returnofkings.com/28600/women-belong-at-home-not-at-the-office

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've seen highly capable women leave our company and go abroad for work. A few years ago we lost a physics PhD with a TOEIC score of over 900 and a high level of Mandarin to work in the US where no doubt she was more valued. The men who 'go to business trip' after 'their job was busy' keep us rolling along. One of the reasons we are heading home is that my partner can't stand working in a Japanese company. I understand her feelings.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Right.

So the way that some men choose to recover from their feelings of lost masculinity is by denigrating and objectiying women, name-calling, mocking any demands for equal rights and safety thus tacitly supporting sexual violence, and wanting women to quit working (and by that token higher education) and stay home, because that'll improve the economy in the short term and society in general.

The happy balance is gender equality in economic, political and social terms; and equal rights and opportunities for all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, colour. faith or lack thereof, and background.

Does that seem unreasonable?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There's a lot of should, would and could. I have a Japanese female friend who has spent the past 10 years working in Hong Kong. I don't think she'd have any problems finding work back in Japan, but I think she, as a woman, finds the working environment in HK much better, and more challenging in a good way. Intelligent, bilingual and hard-working, the type of worker whom Japan could a lot more of.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Female anger is the weathervane of truth, lol at the assumption I don't know how to deal with girls but whatever you say.

I like my girls feminine and I like it that way, Asia don't need feminism thanks

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Do you? lol, I mean? How nice for you!

I am also going to assume felix88 doesn't actually know what the word 'feminism' means in English.

One of the things that tripped me up a few months ago is realising that フェミニスト ('feminisuto') has a very different meaning in Japanese than it does in English.

To say "Asia doesn't need feminism" suggests felix88 believes that women in Asia should continue to put up with being treated as inferior, second-class citizens, deprived of the same legal rights as men have. And that would include not being able to work for the same money in the same positions as men.

He should tell the girls he meets about this, since he knows how to "deal with" them so well!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah the other day, my wife invited all of her friends over for lunch / tea / girl talk on the weekend. This is a group of about 12 women. Jokingly I brought up the topic of "Japan's economic decline, and how politicians want more women to work" , all 12 of them looked at me an giggled.

This is a group of 12 college educated 29 year old attractive Japanese women, all of them quit working 2-4 years ago. Why did they quit? They got married to men who have very lucrative jobs. This allowed them to stop grinding away at the office and to actually start enjoying life, hobbies, raising children, socializing with friends etc.

All but 1 of my wife's friends attended. The one who couldn't make it, but really wanted to come, guess where she was ? At the office, on a Saturday, being miserable. The entire time, the one friend at the office, was texting to my wife's friends how much she hated her boss for not letting her take the day off, and how much she wanted to quit, but couldn't because she was the breadwinner.

95% of the people (men and women) are like her. People who don't enjoy what they do, but NEED to do it in order to provide / support their family. I mean what man or woman really enjoys sitting at some cubicle, grinding away 5-6 days a week, having 25-30% of their income taxed away, and then being too exhausted to enjoy their time off? Men especially don't have the option of just quitting work and having their wife support them, as most women wouldn't want to marry, let alone be with a man who wanted to be a househusband. Women on the other hand , still have this option.

Is it no wonder that its hard to convince women to give up on the things which bring enjoyment, when there is only a small % of people who actually are lucky enough to be doing a job they really love.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So the way that some men choose to recover from their feelings of lost masculinity is by denigrating and objectiying women, name-calling, mocking any demands for equal rights and safety thus tacitly supporting sexual violence, and wanting women to quit working (and by that token higher education) and stay home, because that'll improve the economy in the short term and society in general.

Apparently. It's the same as the feminist overreaction to being considered lesser in the past. Unfortunately the feminist movement has gone so far to the opposite side in the west that some men are sick of being considered lesser now, which is why you see overreactions like Return of Kings.

The happy balance is gender equality in economic, political and social terms; and equal rights and opportunities for all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, colour. faith or lack thereof, and background.

Does that seem unreasonable?

Not at all. Equality for all. The problem is when people mistake equality for sameness. We aren't the same. And the more women act like men, the less feminine they become, and therefore less appealing. This is why so many men fall in love with Japanese women - they haven't lost their femininity for the most part. They aren't trying to match us for in drinking, beat us in sports, and to swear like we do. Of course the problem in Japan is that outlined in this article - the women don't have equality. Women are still expected to make the tea and coffee in Japanese situations, and aren't expected to have opinions of value. This is no good. So somewhere between the over-masculinization of women in the west, and the inequality of women in the east, is a happy medium. It may take a few more bounces back and forth before it balances out however.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Equality in the workplace and family support for 2-salary parents benefits both men and women. That is what equality means.

If women were hired, trained, utilised and promoted based on their abilities, not on the assumption that they are weaker, less-abled and bound to quit, then both men and women would be able to work at a job they enjoy and are good at, at a decent salary, both be able to have leave after their children are born, both be able to take advantage of childcare facilities arranged by their workplace (yeah, still just a pipe dream in Japan) or the city...

They would be able to decide which parent would be the main care-giver without automatically assuming the woman will because she is paid less than the man. If one partner hates their job, they can quit.

Feminism doesn't mean the man loses any rights, it means equal rights and opportunities in economic, political, legal and social terms.

Men like the ones who support misogynistic opinions, movements and spokespeople are not afraid of being considered lesser, they are afraid of equality.

And if a man prefers a woman who behaves in a more feminine way, good for him.

Being masculine/feminine doesn't equate being strong/weak, any more than black means bad and white means good. Are we not beyond such backward and simplistic thinking?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm not sure if you are disagreeing with me in your post, but I agree with most everything you have written.

The only point I would make is here:

Feminism doesn't mean the man loses any rights, it means equal rights and opportunities in economic, political, legal and social terms

Unfortunately many western women think that feminism doesn't just mean equal rights and opportunities, it means being the same as men. So these women try to do everything men do, which while definitely being their right, takes away from their femininity, and makes them less appealing. It's the same as how women generally aren't very attracted to girly/effeminate men.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is why so many men fall in love with Japanese women - they haven't lost their femininity for the most part.

I don't have the statistics for international (western/Japanese) divorce, but I've heard that they're pretty darned high, much higher than the national average.

If Japanese women are so wonderful, then why is the marriage and childbirth rate so low in Japan, enough to cause an actual demographic crisis?

This is a group of 12 college educated 29 year old attractive Japanese women, all of them quit working 2-4 years ago. Why did they quit? They got married to men who have very lucrative jobs. This allowed them to stop grinding away at the office and to actually start enjoying life, hobbies, raising children, socializing with friends etc.

I know many, many women like this, although mostly in their thirties and even forties. The only difference is that about half of them don't have children, and don't seem to be seriously trying for them.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I don't have the statistics for international (western/Japanese) divorce, but I've heard that they're pretty darned high, much higher than the national average.

Every statistic I've ever seen has shown that the divorce rate among international marriages in Japan is less than the divorce rate amongst Japanese marriages, and also less than the divorce rate in America.

On a purely anecdotal level, I don't know any western/Japanese marriages in Japan that have divorce. Everyone I know who got married and stayed in Japan, has stayed married. I do have one friend who went back home with his Japanese wife and ended up divorcing. Contrast this with my friends back home who have divorced - a good 1/3 I'd say.

If Japanese women are so wonderful, then why is the marriage and childbirth rate so low in Japan, enough to cause an actual demographic crisis?

Wow, you are blaming the entire birthrate issue on Japanese women? I think we can see where your bias lies.

I know many, many women like this, although mostly in their thirties and even forties. The only difference is that about half of them don't have children, and don't seem to be seriously trying for them.

So women have to stay home and have babies, or they aren't fulfilled? Or are you implying that if they don't have babies, they should be working?

Why do a woman's choices have to be either babies or work? That sounds pretty sexist to me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why do a woman's choices have to be either babies or work? That sounds pretty sexist to me.

Funny too how it always seems to be the women who want to drag their sisters down....Is it jealousy?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

they can start with my wife,,,, hasn't worked a day since the marriage,,,

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm not sure what people mean by losing masculinity/femininity. I'm honestly interested in the standard of masculinity/femininity they are using.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unfortunately many western women think ...

it always seems to be the women who want to...

Hoary outdated cliches both. Do either of you actually have personal experience of friends or acquaintances like this who outnumber the vast majority of good and sensible women who want a good life with the best opportunities and fair treatment or themselves, friends and family an for everyone?

Tiresome stereotypes which do not reflect reality at all, but just serve to isolate feminists.

If a woman decides to stay home and raise the kids, that's entirely her choice; she should ot have to do it because she has no other choice or because it's been expected of her. What a waste...

Of course, what Japan should do, and what it does do, are rarely the same.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If a woman decides to stay home and raise the kids, that's entirely her choice; she should ot have to do it because she has no other choice or because it's been expected of her. What a waste...

And of course the exact same thing can be said of a woman who wants to devote her time to raising her kids and homemaking: that's entirely her choice; she should not have to do it because she has no other choice or because it's been expected of her. What a waste...

The sad thing is that even in these supposedly enlightened times, few people seriously consider that a man might want to devote his time to raising his kids and homemaking: if he isn't out earning for his family, he's seen as a deadbeat dad. Even with lower average earnings, glass ceilings, tea-making duties and all, in the overall picture we girls still have it a lot better than our menfolk do.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cleo, these times are not especially enlightened. You have written something similar to what fupayme wrote earlier, that men should also be able to have the choice to stay home to raise the kids, but aren't able to. Why not? . . . Because women are being given rubbish jobs at rubbish rates. Opting to stay home because the alternative is not financially viable doesn't mean more fingerprints are on the glass ceiling. Equality benefits everyone, you gals and your menfolk (the 1950s called by the way...) alike.

Trotting out the same old cliched 'facts' and the same old complaints and generalisations, as more than a few people here have done, who does any of that help? What can we do to improve the situation? Anyone?

I will correct my previous post as per your comment, and say that of course if a man or woman wishes to stay home and raise the kids while his or her partner goes to work, that is something for them to decide as a family. Also and prior to that, whether or not they even want to have kids which is also only their business and nobody else's.

many women...don't have children, and don't seem to be seriously trying for them.

This makes me laugh. What the hell business is it of yours whether these women have children or not? Pop out a few more then if you want to, but I'm pretty sure the government doesn't have that tight a hold on anyone's uterus yet (oe-er missus).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What the hell business is it of yours whether these women have children or not?  

Not to nit-pick, but it is every taxpayers business.

These housewives will receive a basic national pension, I believe, even though they have not worked. Also all Elderly services (day service, old peoples homes, etc) are given out regardless of how many taxes you have put in. If they don't have children, then it means they are (on very stark terms) contributing nothing to the future generation, but the younger generation will have to pay considerably more taxes to support these people, in their old age.

They will require much more state assistance if they have no children to help them out in any way (not that Im implying that they should have children for this purpose of course) and it means those who DID have children, will find their children are forced to help out, due to a lack of resources.

While definitely shoganai, it does seem very unfair on the future generation. Its hard for me to think, if someone is married and home all day, with no children, what the heck is she doing all the time? But that is another issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do either of you actually have personal experience of friends or acquaintances like this who outnumber the vast majority of good and sensible women who want a good life with the best opportunities and fair treatment or themselves, friends and family an for everyone?

Yes.

If a woman decides to stay home and raise the kids, that's entirely her choice; she should ot have to do it because she has no other choice or because it's been expected of her. What a waste...

As Cleo mentioned, the opposite is true as well. Expecting that a woman has to work is as equally wrong as expecting her to stay home. True equality is the freedom to do whichever works best for the family in question, not being pigeonholed into a role because society demands it. On that same note, thinking that a woman has to work just because she doesn't want to have children is also not true equality, it's forcing women to choose between one and the other, with no regards to her actual personal circumstances. If she doesn't want to work, and both she and her husband are ok with that, then there should be nothing wrong with this.

Not to nit-pick, but it is every taxpayers business.

Unless every taxpayer is going to go through 10 months of pregnancy, and then every taxpayer is going to raise the child, it is none of their business. Some women would be horrible mothers, and know that, so they would rather not have children. Saying that they have to have children for some societal reason is not only sexist, but also unrealistic, not fair to the child, and really, just plain ridiculous.

These housewives will receive a basic national pension, I believe, even though they have not worked. Also all Elderly services (day service, old peoples homes, etc) are given out regardless of how many taxes you have put in. If they don't have children, then it means they are (on very stark terms) contributing nothing to the future generation, but the younger generation will have to pay considerably more taxes to support these people, in their old age.

And some without cars pay taxes that go to road work. Some people that don't vote pay taxes that go to the government. Some people that never go to the beach pay taxes that pay for lifeguards. And the list goes on. Taxes don't work that way. You pay them, and then you complain if they are not being used properly. Trying to equate a one-to-one payer-to-usage equivalency is ridiculous. No one ever anywhere uses all the services that their taxes go to pay for. On that same note, sometimes people will get benefits from taxes paid, even though they haven't specifically contributed to those taxes.

To put this in a more specific example to relate to your comment, a woman who does not have children will not require taxes for childbirth, will not require taxes for hospital feels for her children over the years, will not require subsidies for schooling for her child, and many other things. You can consider these things a balance on the pension that she will receive. She will get money for a pension, but won't drain money for these other costs - so it balances out. Maybe not yen-for-yen, but whose counting?

And finally, some women will have no children, and others will have four. If every woman followed your logic, we'd have overpopulation spiraling even more out of control than it already is. The idea that the next kids need to pay for the current ones is by definition a ponzi scheme.

So the idea that a woman who doesn't have children isn't contributing to society is outdated, and illogical. On the contrary, she will be working and contributing taxes that a non-working woman won't be contributing, while creating less of a drain in other areas.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just to clarify, strangerland, I was responding to what Marias response to what Tessa said about housewives who DONT work, and don't have children. Sorry a bit long winded.

I understand what you are saying about taxes, of course, but the worlds overpopulation and Japans declining birth rate are two separate issues. It does not matter how many babies there are in Africa, if there are not enough young paying enough tax to support the elderly in Japan, which is the reality in about 30 or 40 years.

I don't think if women were having 4 kids en-masse, there would be this issue in Japan. The birth rate is VERY low at the moment - I believe about 1.2 children for every Japanese woman (it needs to be 2.0 to sustain the current environment, and 2.4 for it to grow)

Please don't get me wrong, I do think working women, childless or married or otherwise, have an awful lot to contribute, and not just in taxes. Women can be fabulous leaders and workers. I also fully appreciate the sentiment of women who want to take a career break to raise children. Absolutely. But this custom of "Ill get married, leave my job, and stay at home all day doing nothing" is outdated at best. I hope the mentality can change, and the young girls in Japan today will strive to be more than a childless housewife.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Expecting that a woman has to work is as equally wrong as expecting her to stay home.

Agreed, unless that person (not necessarily the wife, but the one who's not working) is at home and has no children to look after while reaping in all those tax benefits and looking forward to a pension.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Agreed, unless that person (not necessarily the wife, but the one who's not working) is at home and has no children to look after while reaping in all those tax benefits and looking forward to a pension.

Did you not read my last post? That argument holds no weight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just re-read my post and realised i wrote the opposite of what I meant to write......what I meant was, of course, that the exact same thing can be said of a woman who wants to work/have a career. No one should be forced into doing anything because it's their only option or it's what's expected of them.

On this topic Strangerland is on the same page as me (I think) and read what I meant to write not wot I wrote....apologies to Maria for the confusion.

You have written something similar to what fupayme wrote earlier, that men should also be able to have the choice to stay home to raise the kids, but aren't able to.

And he's right.

it is every taxpayers business. These housewives will receive a basic national pension, I believe, even though they have not worked.

Only if they're married to sararimen. If the spouse is self-employed, not only does he have to pay through the nose for a private pension scheme if he wants to have an income he can survive on after retirement, his wife is obliged to pay the national pension/health premiums, while her sister married to the sarariman next door pays nothing and the sarariman who can afford to have his wife at home gets a tax benefit on account of she is a dependent with no income. The tax/pension/health insurance laws need to be changed. There's something wrong with a system where a person who has paid nothing into the system gets as much if not more of a pension than someone who has paid into the national pension for the stipulated number of years. If a family is affluent enough to have one adult member not earning, that family should not be subsidised from the taxes of families who need both adults working to make ends meet. I'd like to see some kind of pension benefit linked to parenthood, that would encourage people to have more babies if that is what the country needs. What we don't need is childless spinsters/bachelors spitting venom because they think they've 'contributed' more.

if someone is married and home all day, with no children, what the heck is she doing all the time?

...minding her own business?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan has a simple problem, a labour shortage. Any realistic solution will involve more female laborers and mass immigration. Sorry, Japan. It's well past time to change.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan's birthrate is low as it is and trying to fill the jobs with women is short term thinking at best. What Japan needs to do is bring down the cost of living which will encourage population growth and if that means the country going poorer then so be it. Its better the country loses money in the short term than in the next 10 years half the workforce is comprised of grey haired 50 years old robots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Cleo, Strangerland: I suspect we agree on the big stuff. I'm just glad we agree at all!

I would add my disagreement re. the comment about taxes. It would get ridiculous if we all demanded a customised, itemised list of where our taxes may/not go. You want to drink alcohol, smoke, or eat meat? I'm not paying for the medical care for the damage to your health caused by that. You want to have kids, have a car? None of my concern - pay out of your own pocket. You want to have childcare while you go to work? I might pay, depends, tell me more. Why only the one kid...?

etc. It7s a nonsense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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