Girl Power, Japan

If you are one of those who hesitate working in Japan due to issues on gender inequality at the workplace and the legendary glass ceiling story, it may be time to relook your plans.

According to a 2010 news release on 日本経済新聞 (Nihon Keizai Shimbun), or Nikkei Inc.,  for the first time in Japanese history, the income of single female employees under 30 years of age surpasses that of male employees of the same age group by ¥2,600. While that is only around SGD$42 a month, this data offers a more significant representation of the society’s amelioration from traditional perspectives of Yamato Nadeshiko (Japanese women) than its figure suggests.

On the other hand, this could bring up a new social trend if its female population remains adamant in seeking someone with a higher annual salary than themselves for a life partner. Already, many women in their 20s are looking to men in their 40s for marriage because, according to a report on ZIP! that airs every weekday morning on 日テレ (Nippon Television Network Corporation), young women nowadays attend blind dates with men in their 40s to look for someone who would reprimand them. While this sounds a little masochistic, it appears that being reprimanded provides them with a chance to learn what shortcomings they have. And the irony is, feeling bad from being reprimanded actually makes them feel good. If a higher annual salary becomes a factor in their choice of a partner as well, this would mean marriages between couples with an age gap of over 12 years would no longer make headlines. And as if to facilitate its trend into the mainstream, the largest age gap of 45 years is of a 68 year-old celebrity whose wife is only 23.

While I wouldn’t call this trend a problem, it seems that the idea of men bringing in the bigger portion of bread is still deeply entrenched in the minds of many of the young. And if the women insist on finding men their age in a life partner who makes more than they do, the result could be a large number of the young remaining single, which could then further contribute to the country’s aging population.

All in all, the movements in salary trend is interesting. How this era of girl power in Japan turns out can only be left to be observed. Nonetheless, it is heartening to see that women here are no longer so much subjected to salary caps and restrictions simply because of their being female. And if the 2012 end-of-the-world prophecy doesn’t come true, we could witness the end of the feudalistic mindset of former Japan in time to come. Not to forget the end of the “experts” who spend all their time figuring out the date of the end of the world instead of doing something more constructive to contribute to the world.

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