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Evaluating Labor Force Participation of Women in Japan and Korea: Developments and Future Prospects

Evaluating Labor Force Participation of Women in Japan and Korea: Developments and Future Prospects
Kang J.S.
Ewha Authors
Jean S. Kang(강지현)
Issue Date
Journal Title
Asian Journal of Women's Studies
1225-9276JCR Link
Asian Journal of Women's Studies vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 294 - 320
female labor force participation; Gender disparity; human capital; labor force
Taylor and Francis Ltd
Document Type
The economic competitiveness of a nation in the 21st century requires human talent, which has become essential for areas such as research, development, execution of innovative ideas, technology, and value creation. In this respect, nations face a fundamental challenge of both attracting and retaining talented individuals to secure their economic growth. Both Japan and the Republic of Korea (Korea) are nations in dire need of human talent. Although industries in both countries are mainly focused on manufacturing and services, their working population is aging. Rather than luring human capital from across borders, however, both nations must focus primarily on incorporating more women into the workforce; while the number of highly educated women has significantly risen over the last several years, such growth has failed to contribute to an overall enhancement in the labor participation of women. On the whole, the utilization of female labor is an important factor when considering future prospects of economic growth for Japan and Korea. While Japan has successfully increased female labor participation across all age groups over the last several years, including that of women in their prime working ages, Korea has also witnessed higher numbers of women in the workforce. This is so despite the continuous trend of women leaving the workforce during their prime working years. Hence, the primary task here is to compare and contrast policy initiatives from the two countries and identify those that have been relatively successful from those that have proven to be less so. This study seeks to examine the recent efforts made by the governments of both Japan and Korea to acknowledge and promote female participation in the workforce; in doing so, it explores the multi-fold blockades that women still face at present while entering into and advancing in their careers, and propose potential methods for improving things in the future. © 2017 Asian Center for Women's Studies, Ewha Womans University.
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