What’s Holding Japanese Women Back

Time magazine gives Japan a one-two punch of critiques of the country’s treatment of women. First up, Sylvia Ann Hewlett …

Ideas

Educated women are a key engine powering “Abenomics,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to revive Japan’s somnolent economy.  In speeches this week at the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations, Abe has spotlighted women as a major source of potential that has not been fully utilized. “If these women rise up,”  he said, “I believe Japan can achieve strong growth.”

The call for a culture change that would allow women to “lean in” is long overdue. To be sure, Japan has long prioritized equal access to education for women – with a result that Japanese girls score higher in science than boys and constitute nearly half (48%) of university graduates. Yet only 67% of college-educated women are currently employed, and many of them either languish in low-paid, part-time jobs or are shunted into dead-end “office-lady” roles serving tea for male managers and dusting their desks at the end…

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