Challenges Ahead as Japan Seeks More Women Workers

Sally Herships
Mar 3, 2016
Marketplace

“In Japan, 70 percent of women who get pregnant leave work. Many don’t come back.

Japan’s economy is the third largest in the world. But it’s been sluggish and teetering on the edge of a crisis. The country is suffering from a massive population decline and is running out of workers.

As one solution, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for more women to enter the workforce.

But it can be staggeringly difficult for women to be accepted in the Japanese workplace.

Like in the U.S., there are all the typical pressures of being a working mom, but in Japan, there’s more.”

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A pregnant woman walks to her office in Tokyo on July 2, 2013. Pregnant women or young mothers, many Japanese say they are victims of 'mata-hara' a name for 'maternity harassment' of mothers in employment, in an aging country in dire need of babies. Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Sally Herships is a 2015 US-Japan Journalism Fellow.