It’s hard to believe that life for women in Japan could get any worse, but the news released by the World Economic Forum last month (as cited in the Nov. 3 editorial) won’t be happy reading for anyone in Japan.

Whether it was a matter of four other countries improving women’s lot or Japanese women being dropped ever lower by internal mismanagement is not the major cause for concern: 104 countries are doing better at the gender balance than Japan!

It’s great that women in Japan are getting wonderful educations and that they have access to medical care, but Japan as a nation and as a collection of businesses is wasting a valuable resource. Healthy educated women are missing out on full-time work, responsibilities and higher salaries because the companies hiring believe that all women have babies and that child-rearing is women’s work.

I was raised by a single working mother as were millions and millions of people. Access to good quality and affordable childcare makes it possible for women to take their skills, education and experience back into the workforce. Two parents who share parenting make child-rearing easier. Ideally both parents as well as grandparents and other relatives will help out.

Companies should expect their staff to work only reasonable hours, then encourage them to go out or go home afterward. Having a work/personal life balance is good for the company as well as for the workers.

The editorial mentions how having more women in management is better for the company’s profit levels. Japan can do better, and it needs to do better before more of the most qualified women up and leave Japan.

from the japan times online

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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