The emerging situation: changing company practice in response to market pressures
From the mid-1970s, some changes began to appear in Japanese companies’ policies towards their female employees. Many companies started to talk about ‘utilisation of women power’ (josei no katsuyo) or ‘revitalisation of the female workforce’ (joshi rodoryoku no kasseika). Some companies began to introduce new personnel practices and design special project teams or career development programmes for their women employees. These were all new events in Japan as Japanese companies were traditionally indifferent to the ‘women’s issue’. Why did the ‘women’s issue’ become a problem of concern for Japanese companies and what prompted some major companies to introduce personnel management reforms to utilise better the abilities of their female employees after the mid-1970s?