Countries that close the employment gender gap sooner are able to enjoy the fruits of that equality much faster.
Womenomics - The time is now
The employment of women can play an important role in contributing to Japan's economic growth, says Kathy Matsui, chief Japan equity strategist and co-head of Asia Investment Research, Goldman Sachs. She explains that narrowing the gap between male and female employment rates, through increased participation of women in the labor market, could help Japan's economy grow.
Highlights from Womenomics 3.0: The Time is Now
Japan’s total population is projected to shrink by around 30% by 2055 as the number of births falls to 40% of the 2005 level, the proportion of elderly doubles, and the working age population halves.
While the overall female employment rate has risen to a record level of 60%, there is still a long way to go. Seventy percent of Japanese women still leave the workforce after their first child, and only 65% of college-educated women are employed.
Obstacles to higher female employment include insufficient childcare and nursing care support, tax distortions, inadequate focus of the private and public sectors on diversity, and rigid immigration laws.
Companies that will emerge as “Womenomics winners” includes those in the daycare/nursing care, restaurant/food, beauty, apparel, real estate, internet and financial-related sectors, where greatest growth opportunities exist.
Matsui first published research on Womenomics in 1999 against a backdrop of Japan's shrinking population, low birth rate, unsustainably high fiscal debt, persistent domestic deflation, and limited room for maneuver on fiscal and monetary policy.
According to the latest Womenomics report, Womenomics 3.0: The Time is Now, released in October 2010, there has never been a better time for Japan to leverage its most underutilized asset: women.