Q Why don't companies make more use of women workers?

A There are differences depending on the industry, but the percentage of women employees in 1994 was more than 50% in industries such as service, finance, real estate, and wholesale and retail. According to the annual manpower survey by the Management and Coordination Agency, women employees accounted for 38.8% in all industries and overall women workers reached a high of about 80% when part-timers were included.

However, in 1993 and thereafter, work opportunities for women became extremely limited due to the period of low economic growth of the Japanese economy. The lifetime employment system of Japanese companies make many companies hesitate to employ women workers for fear they would quit the company upon marriage and because of their tendency to take more days off than men due to childbirth and child care.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Law enacted in 1986 guarantees equal rights for both men and women. Companies are expected to follow this ruling but there are no provisions for penalization. However, women ' s views regarding work has undergone a change and there are now more women in administrative posts, as well as in fields such as constmction site work which was formerly men only, and large-size ttuck drivers.

The child care leave system has been implemented and day-care facilities have been upgraded enabling more and more women to expand their work horizons.