What proportion of the work force is female?
In 2002, the total number of people employed by businesses was 53,290,000.
Of that number, 21,650,000 or 40% were women.
Women work mostly in the service industries, wholesale and retail sales, at financial institutions and insurance companies.
In the service industries, they comprise two thirds of the employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Law was passed in 1986 to ensure that men and women received equal opportunities and working conditions.
It was predicted that this law would increase female participation in the work force and correct the imbalance of wages.
Unfortunately, since the Japanese economy took a nosedive in 1992, it continued to be difficult for women, particularly university graduates, to find employment.
Part-time employment, on the other hand, is increasing every year, constituting 28% of the work force in 2002, 50% of whom were women.
In 1999, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was revised to make it illegal to recruit, hire, place, and promote workers on the basis of sex, whereas before equality was onlv encouraged.
At the same time, laws that separated out women, such as those that prevented women from working late hours, were done away with, providing legal equality in job opportunities and working conditions.