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13 Jan 2020

Business Day

Japan: Gender pay gap may contribute to doubling poverty rates among women

"Japanese women face bleak future of poverty when they retire", 12 Jan 2020

...Japanese women...face a difficult financial future...[T]he poverty rate for older women will more than double over the next 40 years, to 25%.

For single, elderly women...the poverty rate could reach 50%.

...Japan's gender pay gap is one of the widest among advanced economics...Japanese women make only 73% as much as men...

Another study [found that] Japanese women...will run out of money 20 years before they die...

...[T]wo-thirds [of women] are working only part-time.

...For women, average compensation stays largely the same from their late twenties to their sixties, which is attributable to pauses in employment tied to having children or part-time, rather than full-time, work.

...[A]lmost 40% of women who had full-time jobs when they became pregnant subsequently switched to part-time work or left the workforce.

...More than 40% of part-time working women earn ¥1m or less a year...The lack of benefits of full-time employment in Japan — hallmarks of full-time employment in Japan—make such women financially vulnerable, particularly if they don't have a partner with whome to share expenses.

...Many companies give employees a spousal allowance as long as their partner earns less than a certain amount. About 84% of private companies in Japan offer workers about ¥17,282 a month as long as their spouse earns less than a certain amount a year — usually ¥1.5m, though the ceiling is lower for most companies...

...[O]ne of the biggest [government] reforms..., “limited full-time worker” status, doesn’t always work as advertised. “Limited full-time” employees often face the same workload they would if they were full-time...

While an increasing number of companies have been giving women the opportunity to work more flexible hours after they return from maternity leave, some women complain of being marginalised, with few opportunities for career growth and advancement.

A government survey released in 2019...showed no improvement in gender equality in the workplace, with about 28.4% of women saying they are treated equally at work, up only 0.2 percentage points since 2016.