There Are Practically No Female Japanese Execs — And It’s Plaguing Japan’s Economy
6:05 pm, November 15th | by Hillary Reinsberg
A study this week showed that 74% of Japanese women with degrees chose to quit their jobs. In the U.S., that number was only 31%, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While American women are likely to leave the workforce to watch the kids at home, Japansese women are leaving the workforce because there simply aren’t the opportunities to succeed. What we call the “glass ceiling” here is referred to as the “bamboo ceiling” in Japan. It’s bendable, but it doesn’t break.
Why do Japanese women have so few opportunities for vertical success? For one, they’re often relegated to secretarial roles with little ability to make it to the top. Not only is that bad in an of itself, but it creates a vicious cycle. Very few women are at the top, so there are very few women to act as mentors to younger, ambitious Japanese women.
How few women are at the top? Very few. Last year, CNN pointed out that just 1.4 percent of Japanese executives are women. Yikes. As a result, the World Economic Forum ranks the Japansese gender gap as being one of the worst. As it should be.
And even worse, the Japanese economy would actually benefit greatly from having more women in the workforce. As The Grindstone notes, Japan’s economy has been plagued for decades (plus the recent earthquake) and according to a Goldman Sachs study last year, more women in the workforce could go so far as to increase the country’s GDP by up to 15%.