The Present Status of Gender Equality and Measures

  1. Women and the recession

    Rising unemployment rate among young men and women and older men

    • The unemployment rate in Japan has been rising since 1993. In particular, unemployment rates are high among both men and women, for example, since 1998 the unemployment rate for men has risen to an all-time high of 4.5%, and for women to 4.4%.
    • A look at changes in the unemployment rate over the last ten years by age group reveals that unemployment is increasing among young men and women and older men.

    State of part-time workers varies from country to country

    • In terms of the ratio of part-time workers to total workers in various countries by sex and age group, the ratio of men is lower than that of women in the same age group in all countries, presenting a U-shaped curve (Figure 15). Two categories can be ascertained for women: countries which present a U-shaped curve in the same way as men (USA and Canada), and countries which present a W-shaped curve (Japan, UK, etc.). It is believed that the latter shape occurs because of the high ratio of women in their thirties and forties who choose part-time employment in addition to their many responsibilities in the household, such as child care and housework.

    Figure 15: Ratio of part-time workers by country and age group
    Figure 15: Ratio of part-time workers by country and age group


    1. Part-time workers equal the ratio of employees by the age groups specified above.
    2. It should be noted that the definition of part-time worker varies from country to country. For example, in terms of the average weekly working hours, the following differences arise:
      • Japan (less than 35 hours)
      • USA (less than 35 hours)
      • UK (Definition is limited to those who responded that performed part-time work, so there are no hours available)
      • Canada (less than 30 hours)
      • Sweden (less than 35 hours)
      • Germany (same as UK)
      • Norway (less than 37 hours, excluding those working 30 to 36 hours a week who responded that they were full-time)
      • France (same as UK)


    Full-time Part-time Data Base, Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

    Differences in the ways men and women use spending money

    • In terms of the average expenditure of spending money per month in 1994, women spent more than men. In particular, the 86,682 yen per month spent by women household members under 30 years was a higher amount than any other.
    • By item of expenditure, whereas men tend to spend a comparatively high amount on food and cultural and leisure activities, women tend to spend more money on clothing and footwear, furniture and household articles and health and medical care.
    • A comparison of 1989 and 1994 reveals that the rate of increase of expenditure among women is higher than that of men, and that a real rate of increase is high in expenditure on clothing and footwear, health and medical care and other items (Figure 16).

    Figure 16: Real rate of increase of spending money expenditure by sex
    Figure 16: Real rate of increase of spending money expenditure by sex


    Spending money expenditures (average of all households) were obtained by looking at real rate of increase from 1989 to 1994.


    Compiled from National Survey of Family Income and Expenditure, Management and Coordination Agency