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In recent years, Japan has championed its growing number of working women as an answer to the country’s shrinking population and lackluster economy. But rather than feeling empowered, many are harboring a growing sense of inequity.

“I don’t think we’re being paid fairly,” said Sakiko Takasawa. As a care worker for the elderly, she’s part of a predominantly female industry paid far less than the national average. “There’s still such deep-rooted gender inequality,” added the 35-year-old, who was drawn to the profession during university as she watched her grandmother struggle with dementia.

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