Japanese corporations changing rules for women

Global Business

Japanese snack food maker Calbee is one of major corporations that promotes career opportunities for women.

CGTN’s Terrence Terashima reports. 

It’s introduced various work forms that enables employees to balance their work personal life. Those include flexible work time, parental leave and enabling employees to choose when and where to work. Either from home or in the office, which helps working mothers to balance their career and family

Calbee looked to raise the number of female managers from current 24.3 percent to 30 percent by 2020. However, it is not enough to introduce a system without changing the mindset of the employees.

“A woman cannot advance in her career if she does not have proper mindset. It is important to have the motivation, but at the same time, understanding and cooperation from male employees are needed. We need to have the balance of the work environment and self-motivation to succeed,” Hideko Shintani, Calbee Human Resources and General Affairs Group said.

There are increasing number of corporations are introducing similar systems to accommodate women to pursue their careers. Experts say it is still difficult for women to return to work after given birth.

“Women with children have to choose work, not from what they want to do, but what is available to them, as there are very little job opportunities for working mothers,” Akita Fumiko, Hapi-Share Director said.

Major corporations are able to diversify their job environment, but smaller companies are still struggling with the concept. They’re looking for employees who are able to commit to work, rather than household chores. Also, the society still expects mothers to commit to raise their children

“Ninety-percent of companies are small to medium-sized companies. They are looking for more of a cost performance in their employees. But smaller companies are more able to reflect the executive’s voice. We must promote the smaller companies to create an environment opportunities for working women, before and after child-birth,” Fumiko said.

It seems the working environment for women is gradually changing, but the social mindset is still slow in adapting. Experts are calling to promote change in the cultural mindset entrenched in Japanese society, which undervalues women’s abilities in the society.