Women in their 30s who live in rural prefectures are more likely to have jobs than their counterparts in metropolitan areas, according to a government white paper on gender equality released Tuesday.

Yamagata Prefecture had the highest percentage of working women in their 30s, at 76.2 percent, followed by Toyama Prefecture, at 72.4 percent, according to a 2002 white paper on gender equality compiled by the Cabinet Office.

Among the 47 prefectures, Tokyo ranked 35th, at 58.3 percent; Osaka 45th, at 51.7 percent; and Kanagawa 46th, at 51.2 percent. Nara took the bottom spot at 48.3 percent.

An official at the Cabinet Office said the reason is believed to be that women who don’t move to big cities receive more family support by living with their parents, making work, housework and child-rearing compatible.

The Cabinet Office compared statistics for separate prefectures in the white paper for the first time to find out how gender-equality is proceeding in the hope that prefectures will promote gender equality by comparing their statistics with others, the official said.

But in terms of the proportion of women in municipal assemblies, the metropolitan areas ranked at the top, with Tokyo taking the top ranking, at 20.1 percent, followed by Kanagawa Prefecture, at 17.3 percent, and Osaka Prefecture, at 14.6 percent. Toyama Prefecture ranked 30th, with women comprising only 4.6 percent of municipal assembly members, and Yamagata was 47th, with 2.7 percent.

The paper also says more than 50 percent of assemblies at the town and village level did not have any assemblywomen.

Tokyo was also tops in terms of the proportion of women in managerial positions, at 5.6 percent. Osaka Prefecture was seventh, at 3.6 percent, and Kanagawa Prefecture 18th, at 3.1 percent.

Yamagata Prefecture came in 26th, at 2.9 percent, and Toyama was 42nd, at 2.5 percent.

The paper says more and more women are taking up managerial positions with local authorities and public corporations but the level of appointments of women to such posts is still low.

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