December 7, 2005 Wednesday

MARIKO SANCHANTA – The Financial Times

December 7, 2005 Wednesday
Japanese girls happy with modest career ambitions
Copyright The Financial Times
A glaring discrepancy has emerged between the career ambitions of Chinese female teenagers and their Japanese counterparts, according to a survey published yesterday by a Japanese think-tank.
The top five desired careers among Chinese female teens aged 16-19 included president or chief executive of a company, senior management or manager, or teacher. The top five list for Japanese teens included housewife, flight attendant and childcare worker.
“Against a backdrop of doubts about the future from a protracted recession, Japanese youths have a very strong desire for stability,” said the report, compiled by the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living. “In contrast, young Chinese want to move up in the world.”
The survey was conducted among 200 young men and women in Shanghai and the greater Tokyo area this summer.
Prominent economists have noted that women are Japan’s most under-utilised resource.
A recent Goldman Sachs report said: “If Japanese female participation rates rose to levels currently seen in the US, this would add 2.6m people to the workforce, raising Japan’s trend GDP growth rate from 1.2 per cent to 1.5 per cent over the next two decades.”
Though there have been several high-profile female chief executive appointments in Japan this year, including Tomoyo Nonaka as the CEO of Sanyo, the consumer electronics group, and Fumiko Hayashi as the president of Daiei, one of Japan’s leading retailers, women are still largely absent from top management positions and boardrooms.
Japan is ranked 43 in gender empowerment according to the United Nations Development Programme, putting it behind Barbados and Croatia.
According to the UNDP, the percentage of total seats in parliament held by women is 20.2 per cent in China, compared with 9.3 per cent Japan. Meanwhile, the ratio of estimated female to male earned income is 66 per cent in China, compared with 46 per cent in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *