"Women in the labor market: the case of Japan and Thailand"

Dr. Srawooth Paitoonpong, Visiting Research Fellow of CSEAS.
13:30-15:00, November 21 (Fri), 2003
E207, East Building of CSEAS

The role and status of women in the Japanese society has been changing
constantly along with economic as well as demographic changes.
Economically, the labor force participation (LP) and employment of Japanese
women changes with the economic growth and structural change, while
demographically, their role in the household to take care of children and
the elderly change with the demographic transition. The Japanese society
has achieved both economic development and demographic transition very
rapidly. An interesting issue is, for example, how Japanese women react to
the changes, both in terms of direction and magnitude. The Japanese
population is rapidly aging and the proportion of population aged 65 plus
will become about 30 percent of the total population in 2025. A very
important role of Japanese women, particularly the married women, is to
look after the elderly, cet. par.. With the increasing proportion of the
elderly, women's time becomes increasingly required for taking care of the
elderly. Should this affect the female LP? And how much? Can this be
explained by the increasing proportion of part-time employment? How is the
female LP affected by the demographic change compared with economic change
(there is also increasing demand for women workers? There is a shift of
economic production). How does this affect the campaign for increasing role
and status of women as women's time allocation is conflicting between their
role at home and in the society (social and economic), etc. With these
issues in mind, the pattern and change of women's role in Thailand is
compared. (E.g. What is the rate of aging in Thailand compared with Japan;
what is the role of women in taking of the elderly - what is the pattern
of time allocation between various choices; it should be noted that
Thailand is still predominantly rural with more than half of the population
in the rural areas while Japan is almost universally urbanized).
The study covers (A) a comparative analysis of patterns and change analysis of female labor participation rates in Japan and Thailand; (B) general characteristics of women's employment (to provide an overall picture of women in the labor market in Japan and Thailand); (C) salient features of women in the labor market (to provide a more specific picture of women in the labor market) such as (i) married women and part-time work in Japan compared with that of Thailand which is considered as Underemployed; (ii) Women in professional (essential/expert labor force) - inequality; (iii) Labor feminization (increasing/changing trend of female employment); (iv) Unemployment compared to men and between the two countries; and, (v) Homeworkers in Thailand; and, (D) an analysis of factors affecting female LP and employment, such as household time allocation, wage and family income, marital status, dependent (children and the elderly), social security structure (Japan) or other incentive to work or not to work, educational background, age, household status (head of household), economic situation (e.g. crisis, unemployment), economic structure (agriculture vs industrialized), urbanization (rural-urban differentials), standard of living, and socio-Cultural factors including historical factors.

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