Japan moves to increase women’s participation in labor force

In an effort to improve the economy, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a plan to increase the number of mothers who return to work after giving birth by 55% over the next five years, according to this article from the Washington Post.

Today, just 38% of women in Japan return to the workforce after the birth of their first child. A number of reasons contribute to this lack of participation, including a cultural expectation to work very long hours, a tax system that punishes households with two working adults, and a shortage of daycare options.

To boost participation in the workforce, the Prime Minster plans to put more women in leadership positions and expand the country’s child-care systems. The greater challenge, however, will be changing the country’s mindset about the role of women in society.