The role of women in Japan is very different than the role of the modern day women in western civilization. However, it is similar to the role women played in America 40 years ago. Today, women in Japan are expected to devote their energies to raising their children while men are expected to dedicate themselves to their careers. Oddly enough, both men and women believe this is the way it should be. Nonetheless, there is an increase in Japanese women expressing interest in full time careers. Most of these women are young, single women without children. They are also very well educated women. I believe it would be smart for foreign companies to tap into the surplus of qualified women in Japan. Because of their limited ability for advancement or for managerial positions with national companies, Japanese women are more likely to develop a loyalty to a foreign company. Japanese companies often force a woman to resign when she marries (et. al De Mente p. 162), keeping her from reaching any ranking position while foreign companies tend to respect a woman for her abilities and advance her accordingly. According to Melville, “A low 8.5 per cent of Japan’s upper administrative and managerial positions are filled by women. This compared to 41.5% in the U.S.” (p. 149). The biggest problem a foreign company will face in Japan when hiring these women for executive positions, is that women are often not taken seriously by their male counterparts regardless of their qualifications. However, if a woman is found to be competent, she can actually do quite well in business. Furthermore, hiring a Japanese woman can help a foreign company to overcome language barriers. Still, in most business situations, Japanese men are not accustomed to dealing with women. Foreign women in particular find it difficult to conduct business because of this cultural difference. Adding to that, Japanese men are so unacquainted with dealing with women that it actually makes them
De Mente, Boye Lafayette (1993). How to Do Business With the Japanese: A Complete Guide to Japanese Customs and Business Practices. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Publishing Group.
Melville, Ian (1999). Marketing in Japan. Oxford [England]; Woburn, Mass. Butterworth-Heinemann