Women-Only Work Groups Strengthening Working Women In Japan

By Naohiro Yoshida
The Japan News, Tokyo / Asia News Network.

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN)

Whether it’s associations of people with particular professional licenses or networks spanning an entire industry, the number of women-only work groups are growing.

In an environment where women may have doubts about male-focused professional associations or feel alone due to scarcity of women in their industry, these groups fill a variety of roles, such as offering working women who are raising children the chance to improve their skills and opportunities to talk about their problems.

“This drug management file looks like it’s easy to use.” “Why don’t we share this with the other members of the association?”

Three women were having a discussion at a pharmacy in Kawasaki. They were Michiko Hori, 61, the head director of the Japan Ladies Independent Pharmacy Association (JLIPA), and two directors: Chiyoko Ishikawa, 66, and Mutsuko Watanabe, 69.

The association was founded in May 2015 in response to suggestions that women pharmacists work together to improve their working environment. Membership grew to roughly 190.

Of the 280,000 pharmacists in the country, about 170,000 — more than 60 per cent — are women. Yet none of the top 16 executives of the Japan Pharmaceutical Association (JPA), which comprises executive directors or higher positions, are women. There are also few training programs that women pharmacists can take part in.

Hori and her associates are working to develop at-home learning computer software so pharmacists can watch training videos on topics like how to read the latest medical test data. The program is being created in response to input from women pharmacists who, due to child-rearing duties, work limited hours but nevertheless would like to boost their professional skills.

“It’s difficult for men to understand how women with limited working hours work. We want to carry out education at a very detailed level, to accommodate the situations that individual women are in,” said Hori enthusiastically.

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