Closing Japan’s Gender Gap

"Countries that close the employment gender gap sooner are able to enjoy the fruits of that equality much faster," said Kathy Matsui, our Chief Japan Equity Strategist and Co-Head of Asia Economics, Commodities and Strategy Research. Indeed, efforts to narrow the gap between the number of men and women in the workplace are a vital trend that can help propel Japan’s economic growth.

More than a decade has passed since Ms. Matsui published her original research on Womenomics against a backdrop of Japan’s shrinking population, low birth rate, unsustainable fiscal debt, persistent domestic deflation and limited ability to maneuver on fiscal and monetary policy fronts. Since then, Japan’s demographic shift has continued to evolve. The nation’s total population is projected to shrink by about 30 percent by 2055, while the elderly population doubles and the working-age population is halved. In her research, Ms. Matsui showed that if the female employment rate, which was 60 percent in 2009, were improved to reach that of the male rate of more than 80 percent, then 8.2 million people would be added to the workforce, with a corresponding lift to the level of GDP by as much as 15 percent.

According to the latest Womenomics report, Womenomics 3.0: The Time Is Now, this is the moment for Japan to cast women into the spotlight as its most underutilized asset. Ms. Matsui’s cogent and comprehensive analysis offers 10 proposals for the private and public sectors to increase female employment. It provides an updated assessment of the dividends achieved through higher female employment. And it identifies the potential growth areas of the economy from increased participation of women in the workforce. The report also describes a comprehensive list of "Womenomics winners," business sectors and companies that stand to experience the greatest growth opportunities in a Womenomics marketplace.