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Some women also felt they were passed up for promotion when they became pregnant, or had it delayed until they returned to work. This is a type of discrimination that is not frequently discussed in Ja

13 Comments

Lanis Yarzab, a director at recruiting firm Robert Walters Japan KK (Bloomberg)

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I am sorry Japan, but your treatment and thinking about women in the work place is at least 60 years out of step with other developed nations. Get it together Japan and recognize that you have a well educated and intelligent work force that you under-utilize and marginalize with archaic policies and sexist behavior.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sometimes the PC stuff goes over the top. If a man were to announce he was putting himself in a position where he would not be able to do his job at all for several months, and would require special consideration (part-time, time off etc) for several months if not years afterward, no one would consider him for promotion. Why should it be any different for a woman?

Yes, women get pregnant and men don't. That's biology speaking, not the HR department. Deal with it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Not so different from the rest of the world then. except there they havelaws that are supposed to stop this kind of thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why is this discrimination????

Why should someone who is not going to be at work because they had a baby or whatever get a promotion? It's stupid!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If a woman deserves a promotion, why should it matter if she's pregnant? Give it to her and let her pick up where she left off when she gets back from mat leave. Why is that so hard for some of you to understand? How many men here get promotions they don't deserve? Usually based on age, not output. The issue in Japan is that most women will quit once pregnant rather than come back. Perhaps women do this because they aren't awarded the promotions they deserve (tongue in cheek here - I think we all know J women for the most part think it is their god given right to quit their job once they get up up the duff. Something I greatly dislike.)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

why should it matter if she's pregnant?

Because she's not going to be there for at least several months. Why not give it to her when she comes back, if she comes back? Like I said earlier, if a man announces that he's going to be absent for a prolonged period of time, he can't expect promotion either.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Because when she comes back the men (and some women it seems) won't think she deserves it because she's been off work for having a baby - how unprofessional of her! If she deserves the promotion, give it to her then. Why wait? So she won't be around for a few weeks or months in some cases. So what? Does that mean the work she's done up to that point shouldn't count for anything? In the case of a man, same thing. If he deserves the promotion, give it to him regardless of future plans of not being around. He certainly won't be getting it when he gets back as folks will complain he doesn't deserve one since he's been gone.

Add in the fact that many folks will complain that mom might take time off from work for her kids - shock and horror - so why should she move ahead of some of the men? Come on Cleo, I thought better of you than this.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Unfortunately, I was only able to take one month off for maternity leave. (Not by the company's demand.) Even if I had missed another month or two, my workplace still wanted to train me for a promotion upon my return. Training for that while pregnant would have been VERY risky for my baby and myself, so I understand that it was delayed until after my return. (I'm sure that can't apply to every profession though.) Every family's situation is different, and I do wish that more companies would be understanding like mine was. Sure, unexpected things come up now and then involving kids, but that doesn't make a lot of moms any less reliable or hard-working.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because she's not going to be there for at least several months.

Cleo -- you really have lived in the back-woods of Japan too long. Working women in MANY western countries, including most in Europe and the U.S., are back at work within weeks, not months, of giving birth. In fact, the CEO of Yahoo is pregnant. The reason it isn't accepted in Japan is because its society is not structured to support working women with children -- including a lack of adequate child-care and the freedom for men to really participate in "paternity leaves". As tkoind says, Japan's thinking, and apparently yours, is "at least 60 years out of step". And the country will pay the price even more, as the population ages/declines and talented women are passed over simply because "women get pregnant, men don't" as you so eloquently stated. It IS an HR issue, and blaming biology for a lack of vision on Japan Inc's part is just simplistic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Depending on the job and the company, competition can be fierce. It doesn't seem absurd at all that someone who doesn't take three months off would be passed over in favor of someone who will be at work for those three months.

"or had it delayed until they returned to work. "

How terrible..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

" Sure, unexpected things come up now and then involving kids"

Yes they do. If kids get sick, or even get a temperature over a certain degree, daycares expect a parent to come and take the child home. Not everyone has a job (male or female) where they can just go leave for the day. Either the father or the mother has to do that. If my wife had a great job and I was the one who had the job of leaving work for children, it may be hard for me to expect a promotion over someone else who was always on the job.

To me this is all about practicality -it's not a war on women or anything. And it will always depend on the job and company.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know where the hell you people work, but where I work, maternaty leave is almost a full year. And I know two women that got knocked up twice in a row, and were out for 2 years. Yeah, that didn't cause any problems for the people left picking up two years of slack.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

it may be hard for me to expect a promotion over someone else who was always on the job.

Why? If your a good worker and the other person isn't, time means nothing.

I don't know where the hell you people work, but where I work, maternaty leave is almost a full year.

Perhaps you'd like to familiarize yourself with mat leave in Japan? Six months with payment, one year is nothing. Many women who don't quit go for six months as they can't afford a year off - be it money or job wise.

Picking up the slack? You do get that is the fault of your employer for not hiring someone to cover those workers, right? They were cheap and saved on money. Not the fault of the women but the fault of the men (I assume) running the show.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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