It is quite strange, yet true, that many Japanese women are more likely to have university degrees than Japanese men. However, one of the biggest reasons why women quit their jobs after childbirth is the unfeasible working hours for child care. Since the workplace in Japan is very busy, working as a mother might mean overlooking your children. Also in Japan, it is deemed necessary to devote yourself to your company especially if your job is very demanding.
In order to help women stay in the workforce, mama square, a nursing space for children, is offering child-rearing mothers the chance to have a part-time job while their children are taken care of by nursery workers free of charge.
It is commonly believed that Japan is the worst developed country for working mothers. Many of the working moms in Japan struggle to keep their careers. For the last 10 years, the number of employment offered to women has been increasing, yet many are still having a hard time getting a good job. Many of them give up work as soon as they have their first child due to lack of nursery care.
Another reason for this is their husbands. Japanese men are considered far beyond their counterparts in America or Europe when it comes to housework. Many of them only spend an hour or less in helping out with the housework as well as with the kids. Though paternity leave is available in Japan, many men still don’t want to use them for fear of not getting a promotion or losing the job. This is one of the reasons why they are working long hours in the office. They believe that they need to work as hard as possible.
Many Japanese women want to continue working after giving birth, but the lack of child care institutions is the biggest hurdle. The birth rate in Japan is 1.37 births per woman which is actually far below the ideal 2.1 figure that makes a country stable. To remedy this, Japanese mothers should be encouraged to stay in work or go back to work even after having children.
It is also true in Japan that women who are having children are not working, while women who are working are not having children. Both of these are considered toxic for the country’s future. To lessen this problem, mothers are then encouraged to stay in the workforce by being provided with special support from some companies as well as the government.
A Tokyo-based company called mama square recently opened in Saitama City (さいたま市) as the first working cafe with child-minding functions for mothers who do not want to work apart from their children. This new working style concept has been introduced by Mitsui Fudosan Co. to support working mothers and has been founded by Satoshi Fujishiro.
mama square is a very stylish place wherein the cafe space, working space, and kids space are all separated by a glass partition in order to give mothers and children a chance to feel close to each other. Nursery care providers and children support staff are available full-time in the child-minding area so mothers can focus on their work. This proximate location allows mothers to ease their minds without having to worry about their children. This will also relieve them from the time consumed in dropping off and picking up their children from regular daycare centers.
This particular Saitama branch is located in a shopping mall which will also make it easy for mothers and children to bond or go shopping after work. They can also spend lunchtime together which will somehow make them both feel satisfied and well loved. A shift system is followed in order to prevent mothers from feeling overburdened by long working hours or days and demanding work details. Working breaks are also given to mothers to allow them to watch their children at play. A family cafe area is also available which can be used by all.
Mothers will be working only part-time as helpers for telemarketing or proofreading. They will also be given some assignments to finish by big companies and other clients. While they are working, their children will be taken care of by nursery staff free of charge. The mother can go to the nursery room whenever they want such as for changing the diaper. However, the nursery area cannot be registered as a daycare center due to the proximity of the mothers to their children but the number of nursery workers is similar to those of actual daycares.
Around 1.5 million housewives have a hard time looking for a job in Japan despite wanting to work. Improving the work system such as providing more options to mothers increases the chance for them to join the workforce. Many local governments have actually considered the work system developed by mama square as something that will become a future trend.
There are so many competent women across Japan who are willing to work after giving birth. With this kind of system, mothers are given the chance to resume their employment while raising their kids. Most mothers are worried about resuming work after spending so many years away from their workplace. They become anxious restarting a new chapter in their life that it becomes nearly impossible for them to do so.
mama square has also been planning on expanding its operations in Katsuragi, which is a city located in Nara Prefecture. This is due to the reason that for every 30 jobs offered by mama square, around 80 people apply for it which means they need to provide more job opportunities. The company also plans to open 20 similar workplaces across the country by spring 2017 to give more chances to mothers.
Japan’s demographic crisis is already under way and its population is expected to continue shrinking in the future. If this kind of trend persists, then the country will probably lose a third of its population in the next century. Helping women work will hopefully encourage them to give birth to more children. Supporting them will increase the country’s birth rate and enhance job security. For housewives or mothers out there who’d want to join the country’s workforce, then this company might just give you the answer to your long-time problem.
mama square Website *Japanese only
There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here.