Women in the Japanese Workplace

By Bryson Torgovitsky

Given the current scandals surrounding women’s treatment in the American workplace, I was refreshed to hear that Shinzō Abe had plans to institute a greater number of women in Japanese jobs. Unfortunately, such a transition could never be instantaneous, and there has yet to be major headway. Although some women, like Yukiko Koyama, are finding work in traditionally male environments (she works as a lumberjack in Nagano prefecture), women still face challenges, especially when motherhood begins. Yuko Ogata, who is a member of the Kumamoto City Assembly in Kumamoto prefecture, was removed from a meeting after bringing her infant son on the grounds that “guests” were not permitted entry. The interesting part of this story is that Ogata-san’s son was nondisruptive to the meeting. I do support Shinzō Abe’s idea of women becoming a greater part of the Japanese workforce, but nothing is so simple that it can be accomplished by words alone. Individuals must adjust their (potentially long-held) views so progress can be made.



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