Women in Japan (1) – a recent news overview

One topic that is coming up in many of the conversations here this week is the place of women in Japanese society: after years of coming to Japan I still see barely any change in the inequality between men and women here. There are various reasons for this I think, the corporate culture in Japan, how men view women, lack of facilities such as child care, and so on.

Not only has this come up in conversation, a few articles popped up this week that talk about this as well, and before starting a longer piece to go into more detail, I thought it’d be nice to give a quick overview of these articles.

The BBC wrote about women in Japan, with an article called The worst developed country for working mothers? A title like that doesn’t promise much good, and it explains some of the reasons why Japanese women are so little represented in the workplace.

This inequality between men and women also shows when the story of a man (not coincidentally, a foreigner in Japan) taking care of his children becomes a news item. Why should this have to be news?

And only today, I spotted an item about Hitachi’s pledge to up the number of women in its management: aimed to be at – a whopping – 8% by 2020…

Luckily, it’s not all bad: recently a group of women (Japanese and foreign) established the Nishinippon Business Woman Association: committed to promote women empowerment in the Japanese business world. Great initiave, also because it is (far) away from Tokyo where changes in the traditional role pattern have probably changed most so far.

And, I liked this innovative initiative started in Tokyo to enable women to be part of the workforce, especially when they are working independently: a co-working office with space for your kids.

Enjoy reading, and more soon.

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