That the number of women with jobs topped 30 million in June — the first time this has happened since the government started taking relevant data under the current format in 1953 — marks yet another milestone in women's growing participation in the labor market. Of the total workforce of 67.47 million, up by 600,000 from a year ago, women numbered 30.03 million, an increase of 530,000.
The fact that female workers accounted for nearly 90 percent of the increase underlines the increasing role of women to sustain the nation's workforce numbers as the labor supply continues to tighten amid the graying and declining population. In June, 71.3 percent of women in the primary working age from 15 to 64 had jobs, up 1.9 percentage points from a year earlier.
But the labor statistics and other data also show that hurdles remain to fully realizing the labor potential of women, such as the steep gender gap in terms of wages, the relegation to irregular jobs such as part-time positions and the lack of promotion to leadership roles. It's still unclear whether women's growing presence in the labor market has been accompanied by efforts to create a better environment for them to pursue a career while giving birth and raising children, and to adequately evaluate workers' skills and performance irrespective of gender.