These days a lot of companies and government organizations are bent on building a female workforce as they anticipate workforce shortages because of our aging society. It is a matter for congratulation that we see this trend finally happening in Japan, which was once known strictly as a vertically structured male-oriented society.

Some companies have set a numerical target of how many female managers and board of directors members to appoint. However, not a few companies appear to view an increase in the number of female managers as a fad without making the appropriate adjustments in their companies for women. These women are sometimes called “Cinderellas”; some are chosen mostly for their gender. Such treatment will do these women as well as their companies more harm than good.

For example, some have attributed the recent tumult over what was first thought to be the discovery of a simple method for producing “STAP cells” to the attitude of the research institute involved — to create “a Cinderella researcher” quickly — as one of the focal causes of the fiasco.

It is evident that the economy of Japan cannot survive without making good use of its female workforce, but companies must utilize them in the proper manner. First and foremost, Japanese companies should treat male and female workers with fairness and generosity — not with dishonest motivation.

shuichi john watanabe

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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