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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 19 - 25  > Workplace gender gap hinders women workers from continuing careers
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2019 June 19 - 25 TOP3 [LABOR]

Workplace gender gap hinders women workers from continuing careers

June 21, 2019

Labor Ministry data shows that female job-seekers in Japan were 1.5 times less likely to get a management track position than men, as of 2014.

The percentage of university-educated women who voluntarily left their jobs was 74% in Japan while at 31% in the U.S. and 35% in Germany, according to the U.S. thinktank Center for Work-Life Policy survey conducted in 2011.

The thinktank also found that the main reason for women's voluntary turnover pertained to their aspects of their chosen career in Japan such as job dissatisfaction (63%) and working in dead-end jobs (49%). On the other hand, in the United States, family matters such as childrearing (74%) and caregiving (30%) were the major factors.

Professor at Japan Women's University Osawa Machiko pointed to gender inequality at work as a cause of making university-educated women feel like giving up continuing with their careers. Osawa said, "Female workers are still perceived as a short-time labor force in Japan, and there is a difference between men and women in job allocations and job training."

Osawa, at a symposium held by the Science Council of Japan held early this month in Tokyo, said that the wage gap based on sex is also another major factor leading to the high turnover rate among women, irrespective of their educational background or the length of their job experience.

Women workers in Japan are often assigned to non-management positions or to dead-end jobs: System development is a task for men, to publicize the developed system is a women's job, planning/sales is for men, and supplementary work or clerical/paperwork is for women. This phenomenon is part of the "glass ceiling" which prevents women from moving up into executive positions.

At the same symposium, Yagi Yosuke, former personnel manager of housing product maker LIXIL Group Corporation, made reference to a global survey on enthusiasm at work and revealed that Japan ranked 132nd out of 139 countries surveyed.

Yagi said, "About 45% of the Japanese working population is women. Unless Japan provides a better working environment so that women workers can put to use their underutilized abilities and skills, Japan cannot increase in its ranking of enthusiasm at work," and pointed out that there is no objective difference in job performance between men and women.

Past related articles:
> Abe’s ‘women empowerment’ policy does nothing to remove glass ceiling [August 4, 2018]
> Japan lags behind international community in gender equality [March 6, 2018]

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