Women in the Workforce

In a society accustomed to men in business suits enters: The woman. Neatly dressed in a business skirt and blazer, the Japanese woman now joins the realm of men. Traditionally, women were the homemakers; the business they ran (and still run today) was the home. A mother is like a well-oiled machine, continually providing a clean house, clean clothes, moral support, and dinner on the table at the end of the day.

On top of that, women are joining the workforce. Although most girls in university still have the dream of being flight attendants, more and more young ladies are looking for jobs in the political and business worlds- where the employees of such fields were predominantly men. But what has caused this change over the years? Are women’s decisions the only factors in the shift?

Though the Japanese workforce may not be completely run by males these days, it still seems as though Japanese men naturally tend to dominate. On the bus to Hirakata-shi, a man and woman boarded the bus together. In this case, the man actually led the woman on the bus. The man also was the first to sit down and the woman followed shortly behind. When we arrived in Hirakata-shi, he signaled that the woman should stand up, and for the stretch of the aisle, she was in the lead. However, once the bus stopped, the man sidestepped and stood in front of the woman and led her off the bus.

It made me think that even though this act might seem insignificant, it was still a small taste of the natural behavior of Japanese men to be more dominant even in general, every day situations.

Here are articles of Japan women in the workforce relating to flight attendants and closing the gender gap, respectively:
“Flight Attendants Have Arrived…”
“JAPAN: Dwindling Workforce…”

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November 3, 2009. Uncategorized.

2 Comments

  1. R.A. Stern replied:

    I would be cautious against saying the behavior of Japanese men is “natural”, after all social behavior is learned. But women too act out their roles as “naturally” as men. Many a time when having a meal with a new group of people one of the women in the group will take it upon herself to pour water for everyone – or at the least, any “foreign guests” (sometimes not serving Japanese male friends who are present). I even had a female friend offer to pay my bus fare to her house to pickup an item she was loaning me. She persisted to question me if I would be ok with the fare until I produced exact change from my wallet to show I could afford it. Perhaps she thought I was as daft as Japanese men are thought to be with handling money.

  2. visual gonthros replied:

    Yes, there are those that would find the way men and women walk and share space to be… well, ungentlemanlike (is this a word?). In my own experience women seem to be confused if i let them go first or try to hold a door open for them. Some have suggested that women are stronger and thus stay behind men to prop them up (while the men themselves do not realize this).

    With the current conditions in Japan more and more women are going to have to work outside of the home. It will be interesting to see how this changes society and perhaps even body language.

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