Increasing women in the workforce to turn Japan's economy around

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Increasing women in the workforce to turn Japan's economy around

Related tags: Gender

Despite repeated attempts to revitalize the economy, Japan remains mired in weak growth. However, analysts now say increasing the number of women in the workforce will turn things around. 

According to Asiasociety.org, the number of Japanese women participating in the workforce and economy is far lower than other developed countries. In fact, analysts reckon more women in the workforce could boost Japan’s GDP by as much as 13 per cent.

After coming into power in 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced one key area of focus would be women’s empowerment with a goal of getting 30 per cent of managers in Japan to be female by 2020; "Abenomics won’t succeed without Womenomics".

On the topic, Naoko Ogawa, senior manager for Women’s Empowerment at Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) tells Asiasociety.org that gender role stereotypes (i.e. men should work while women should do housekeeping, or men should do professional work while women should be assistants) are deeply rooted in the mentality of the Japanese.

"They keep women from actively pursuing a career and give their bosses unconscious gender bias in providing opportunities for career building. Also, long working hours and men's indifference to housework and child rearing discourage women with children from working in positions of responsibility,​" he told the publication.

'Domestic companies need to change their mentality'

On speaking to regional expert Florence Bernardin, CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com learns that when it comes to the cosmetics industry in Japan, women only tend to be prominent figures of the workforce in international companies that have bases in the country.

"From my experience, women rise to high positions in the likes of L’Oréal in Japan or Chanel. But in local cosmetics companies, men are still dominating​," she tells this publication.

"However, if we're talking about sales task force such as beauty advisors, 95% are women​," Florence adds.

The CEO of '​Information et Inspiration', a Franco-Asian team dedicated to monitoring the cosmetics markets in Asia says the key problem lies with childcare facilities despite the efforts of enterprises to support working parents.

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