Female employment rate in Japan 2009-2018

In 2018, the employment rate for women in Japan stood at over 51 percent, up from around 46 percent in 2009. At the same time, the male employment rate rose from about 68 percent in 2009 to more than 69 percent in 2018.

Increasing the number of working women

As Japan is facing severe demographic challenges, the government has tried for many years to increase the number of women in the workforce as well as in management and leadership positions. In 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared his commitment to create "a society in which women shine", calling it “a matter of the greatest urgency”. Since then, the number of employed women increased by more than two million, amounting to approximately 29.46 million in 2018.

Attitudes slow to change

Despite these advances, Japanese corporate culture as well as gender attitudes are only slowly changing. A survey in 2018 revealed that balancing work and caring responsibilities was seen as the most important issue facing women in Japan today. And while the number of working women has certainly increased, some voices criticized that Japan still lagged behind when it came to women in leadership positions. This criticism also extended to political leadership positions, as women in the House of Representatives made up less than 10 percent of diet members in 2019.

Female employment rate in Japan from 2009 to 2018

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period

2009 to 2018

Age group

15 years and older

Supplementary notes

*Supplementary-estimated figures (Referential figures: 2010 Population Census base) were used due to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The source defines the employed and unemployed population aged 15 years and older as labor force.
Employment rate is calculated based on the following formula: (employed / population of 15 years old and over) x 100.

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