Changing Role Of Japanese Women Essay

2181 words - 9 pages


The Changing Roles of the Japanese Women in Business


Since the 1950’s the Japanese women have sought to change the traditional role of an office lady who becomes a housewife and a mother after marriage. This is apparent in their attitudes toward marriage and the family system. A new generation of educated women who are seeking a career as a working woman. After World War II women have developed a more individualistic approach to life. Women have waited until they are much older to marry, living at home longer, vacationing to Hawaii, and contributing to the economy ...view middle of the document...

This was the first step to the “Quiet revolution,” to allow change to be sustained in a culture based on harmonious interpersonal relationships. Once married, the woman had the lowest status of the entire household. She had to serve her mother-in-law and husband with no questions. The first one up in the morning and the last to go to bed at night, she served her family tirelessly (Iwao, 1993).

The Japanese women became the key to the country’s success during the countries tumultuous time. The government attempted to increase the birth rate so that Japan could compete with the countries surrounding them. The women were urged to live according to the saying, “Umeyo fuyaseyo,” produce more babies and increase the population. In the commercial sector, the women were attributed to the country’s economic success. Japan needed a way to finance its modernization effort; they did so by textile export. They employed thousands of women to work in the textile factories. By 1900 250,000 women worked in this industry, and they accounted for 63% of the labor force. The Japanese women were forced by economic factors to work in the factories. The women were paid low wages and lived in crowded accommodations (Iwao, 1993).

During World War II nearly 7 million men served in the Japanese Army, they represented nearly 30% of male working population. With this large amount of men fighting, women began to work in mines, mills, and factories. The women became single women, in a sense; they were responsible for supporting an entire family while their husbands were gone (Bingham, Gross 1987).

By the end of World War II the society of Japan had changed. Cities were in rumbles from bombings, many cities were depleted, and many were left homeless. “The war brought to Japan both economic bankruptcy and the bankruptcy of our social traditions. In the economic and social anarchy that followed, everyone had to pick a living for himself. This desperate situation helped to foster a basic democratic tendency, and worked as the principal factor for the shattering of our feudalistic family system” (Rosenberger, 2001).

The young women that did work, typically worked in offices, and were known as “Office ladies.” There job was senseless; they were to dress well and smell good, in order to brighten up the men’s workday. The only work was minor, making tea for the men, photocopying and cleaning the office. Most of these companies required the women to resign after marriage, and women who did not marry by their middle twenties were considered “Christmas cakes,” she was no good after the 25th. With this mindset, it is not hard to understand why one would be conflicted on hiring a female over a male. The popular opinion was for a woman to quit after being married or having a child. The company would constantly have to train and replace the position every time a woman was married or had a child, it was not expected for them to return to work after these events....

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