The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said that if Japan wants to counter the greying of its population and increase the birth rate, they must give more rights to women in the workplace to give them more confidence to balance child rearing and working. Another thing the government has to promote is more active participation for men in raising children.
Babatunde Osotimehin, the UNFPA’s executive director, said that it is important to assure women that they still have a place in the workforce even after taking a leave to give birth to a child. It is also crucial to have laws and regulations that will ensure that when they take a leave, they will not lose anything and that their careers can still advance if they choose to balance both work and child-rearing. He says that to achieve this, both the public and private sector should work together. In their work with other countries, they encourage governments to cooperate with the private sector to provide and promote means so that the company can balance labor force participation and parenthood for women who choose to do both. He also encourages a system that will encourage men to participate more in child rearing, like what is happening in Denmark, Sweden, France and Britain where paternity leaves have been incorporated in corporations.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to make women a more integral part of society, as he made their participation in all aspects part of his economic growth plan for the next seven years. He is making it a goal to have women fill up 30% of senior positions in all aspects of society by 2020. There have been a few improvements, as the recent survey shows that women in executive positions have increased from 1.5% the previous year, to 1.8% to date. However, things are still moving too slowly for the world’s third largest economy, partly because of several cultural and gender-related factors.
[ via Tokyo Times ]