Women could rescue Japan’s chronically underperforming economy if more of them went to work, the female director of the International Monetary Fund said Saturday.
Christine Lagarde said Japan’s shrinking and greying workforce, which has left the country struggling to pay welfare bills, could really benefit from an injection of female talent.
“Because there is this ageing problem… we believe that women could actually help very much,” Lagarde told reporters in Tokyo, where the IMF is holding its annual meetings.
“It’s critically important the world over but it’s particularly important in Japan,” she said, referring to IMF research on the role of women in the country “that indicates that women could actually save Japan”.
“Today you have five out of 10 Japanese women out of the job market, as opposed to two out of 10 men,” she said.
Lagarde said if there were “better kindergartens and better assistance and cultural acceptance that women can actually do the job, it would be excellent for the Japanese economy”, she said.
Despite high levels of education, many women drop out of the workforce when they have children, and social pressures to play the homemaker remain.
Japan’s once world-beating economy has spent more than two decades treading water with entrenched deflation and anaemic growth.
Lagarde, a former finance minister of her native France, was speaking after Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa stressed the importance of raising the labour participation rate of elderly people and women.The Raw Story
Women could save Japan’s economy: IMF’s Lagarde
Who would have guessed? Japan's chronic problem with deflation is due to a low participation rate. Put those lazy retired people back to work, and tell women to forget about childrearing and get a real job that pays money. Ain't neoliberalism great?