I thought to write about women in the workplace in Japan when I just received a mail from one female employee.
She had to take off tomorrow but was writing from the office on a Sunday because she wanted to finish her job and not create trouble for the office by taking off on Monday.
Indeed, I often noticed that female employees in Japan could show a bigger sense of responsibility that their male counterparts.
In popular belief, we often see the typical office lady, with an uniform, bringing tea to colleagues and so on.
While it still exists in many companies in Japan, gaishikei in general try to give more opportunities to women, and in general it is very rewarding.
Half of my companies employees are female and they are all excellent, dedicated, supportive and working efficiently (they leave at 6:00 sharp but all the job is done and often even more is achieved.)
In Gaishikei, except for speciality positions (like IT, marketing or so on) they are mainly in administration. For example import/logistics/sales adminitration, …
You will find them often very valuable to manage quickly unscheduled situations (something which is not in the “manual”) and often better than their male colleagues (maybe because some of them are used to deal with their children…)
Another extremely unvaluable aspect is that for most of them (if they are in administration position), they will be in the office all the day. It means that they can be a very good source of information on what is going in the office i.e. when you are out. I was often informed about some “behavior” of sales peoples or got some information which was very precious at this time.
So as a conclusion, I believe that women in Japan are and should be the future of the corporate Japan. There is still a huge gap and many measures should be implemented but maybe Gaishikei can show the path.
One last advice, be respectful to them, don’t be too close, don’t show preference (it’s not easy to manage many women together) but share a joke once a while (after all office does not need to be boring!)
I hesitated to chose a picture of a typical OL or office lady but I prefered to chose a picture of Sakura season (cherry blossom) as I believe that women in the workplace in Japan might be the key to a blossom in corporate value.