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Okinawan companies avoid hiring women managers

Date Posted: 2003-04-26

Most business enterprises in Okinawa avoid hiring women for posts that would lead them to become managers later. That's the result of a nationwide survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The survey canvassed companies that employ 30 people or more, finding that 11.9 percent of companies nationwide had women managers, but in Okinawa only seven percent of the companies reported so.

Most companies claimed that women lack education and experience necessary for such jobs as reasons why they neglected promoting women to managerial positions. Okinawan companies specifically said that most women want to put family affairs ahead of the company's business interests. The companies also claimed that most women don't work long enough in the same company to become managers.

Child rearing, maternity leave and medical reasons also figured large in Okinawan companies' considerations. "Women tend to take much more time off than men, and that means extra costs for the company. That's why we generally do not consider a woman for a managerial post," one midsize company wrote in the questionnaire, reflecting similar attitudes among most Okinawan enterprises.

On the bright side, sexual harassment does not seem to be a problem here. Most companies said they never had a complaint about sexual harassment, and almost all female managers here agreed. "Never even hear a rumor of sexual harassment. Okinawan women are too strong to take that kind of behavior," one female manager at a Naha based trading company said.

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