Even as Japan’s female labour force rises, women seem to be trailing behind their peers in other developed countries
There are an additional three million Japanese women working than in 2012, even though they only earn 75 percent of what the male population makes, according to a Goldman Sach's 'Womenomics' report compiled by Japan strategist Kathy Matsui. Even as the Japan's female labour force is increasing, women seem to be trailing behind their peers in other developed countries.
Matsui warned that the country is at the brink of a demographic crisis. "If your sole key resource as a nation is your human capital, you don’t have a lot of options but to leverage every single human being," she stated.
Matsui criticised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the slow pace of women's representation increasing in leadership roles across sectors.
Women working to their full potential could boost Japan's economy by 15 percent, according to Matsui. This would mean increasing women workers in the country to match men. But it would also mean letting women work longer hours as they are mostly in part-time roles as of now.
As compared to the US and Europe, Matsui feels women's participation in Japan has risen to 71 percent despite high discrimination. In 2018, a Tokyo Medical University was the centre of attention as it rejected women only to hire less qualified men in their place.
When Abe returned to office in 2012, he promised to put women in 30 percent management positions across industries by 2020. The pace of this project has been slow. Only 10 percent of Japan's lawmakers are women and in Abe's Cabinet, there is just one woman among the 19 ministers.
Matsui is advocating gender equality in Parliament. "It is unacceptable to me that the most important laws and decisions affecting everyone living in Japan are determined 90 percent by one gender," she said.
In Matsui's first ever 'Womenomics' report in 1999, the condition was much worse. In her analysis of women's role in the economy, Matsui had noted that women's professional engagement needed much work.She said changing the legal structure was not enough and called on the private sector to help out. "The government can only do so much and a lot of the heavier lifting needs to occur in the private sphere, not only within or inside or corporations but also within homes," she noted.
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