One of the issues that are on the rise in various organisations around the world is diversity and ensuring that everyone from the workforce is treated equally, with dignity and has their fair share or resources, as this is simply the right thing to do. This issue is reflected also in the Japanese Labour market and can be seen represented in the mixture of backgrounds ratio of any company’s employees. Although there are many legislations put in place to ensure equal employment opportunity to reinforce through the elimination of gender-based discrimination in recruitment, treatment of workers and promotion since 1985 (Harzing and Pinnnington, 2011), there is still an unbalance seen in the nation’s gender equality in amongst the labour market of the advance economies. According to the Economist (2018), the “glass ceiling index”, which is the invisible barrier keeping women and minorities from advancing above a certain threshold in the corporate world, indicates that Japan holds one of the lowest ranking amongst 29 of the more developed countries, coming in at number 28. This shows that women and minorities are not encouraged or offered to do as well as the majority of Japanese men are. Furthermore, The World bank (The World Bank, 2018) surveyed the labour force in Japan and found that less then 50% of Japanese women were actively contributing to the country’s workforce. Full time female workers were surveyed to be at 30% which is a similar percentage to the amount surveyed in 1985, ultimately concluding that female workers still find it difficult to hold and maintain full-time jobs (Magoshi and Chang 2009). In addition to this, it was found that only 9% of women held managerial or board positions. (The Japan Times, 2016). This can be interpreted to mean that not only do women find it harder to get full time jobs, their career path also proves to be full of more obstacles if they wish to take it further.
Many associate these obstacles with gender and race, as opposed to factors such as lack of ability and management skill at a higher level. Despite all of the achievements made by women in Japan, it is still a common stereotype in the country that women as leaders are perceived negatively. As a male-dominant society, it is common perception that women are followers or supporters of these men and this may hinder some women’s view of themselves as leaders or aim for such high positions. This perception is intensified by not only the lack of strong women role models for young Japanese females, but also by the unspoken partiality present in promotion decisions which often result in less not so effective use of the best talent in organisations (Robinson and Dechant, 1997). This implies that many work places often prefer to use a male employee to do the job over a more able female employee as a result of this culture. This disadvantage placed on women continually makes the workplace an unfavourable place for women making it more burdensome than for men. It is suggested that organising the strategy of positioning fairly between genders directly correlates with the company’s productivity, and therefore, profit levels. Recent studies show that women influence over 85% of retail choices, which implies that input from women employees in the marketing industry is crucial. Due to the low levels of female workers in many businesses, corporations are likely to not make as much profit in a male-dominant group versus a mixed gender group as the latter group’s range of ideas would be broader, casting a “wider net” on consumers.