Blog post

“Women are Japan’s most underused resource”

Unleashing the potential of ‘Womenomics’ is an absolute must if Japan's growth is to continue.

Publishing date
23 September 2014
Thomas Walsh


“Unleashing the potential of ‘Womenomics’ is an absolute must if Japan's growth is to continue. (…) I will make other proposals at the U.N. for further empowering women and will promise to spend more than $3 billion in the three years to come solely for that purpose—all in the firm belief that Japan (…) and countries around the world can benefit”.

Shinzo Abe, Wall Street Journal, September 2013.

Unleashing the potential of ‘Womenomics’ is an absolute must if Japan's growth is to continue

Engaging the full potential of the female labour force is one of the main objectives of the third arrow of Shinzo Abe’s eponymous “Abenomics” policy ensemble. The aim is to revive the Japanese economy in the short-run via a mix of monetary and fiscal stimulus (arrows one and two) and structural reforms to reinvigorate the long term growth potential of the Japanese economy (the third arrow).

This chart presents the recent evolution of the Japanese female employment rate. To account for secular changes in the labour market it’s presented as a fraction of the same rate for men.

We see women have been making steady progress for some time, closing the gap on their male counterparts, and with a possible faster-than-trend rate since the introduction of “Abenomics”. 

Is just a random uptick, or part a deeper shift in the Japanese labour market? Only time will tell…

About the authors

  • Thomas Walsh

    Thomas Walsh, a British citizen, worked as a Research Assistant at Bruegel in the area of macroeconomics from August 2014 to August 2015.

    He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics with a thesis entitled “The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy at the Zero Lower Bound: A FAVAR Approach”.

    He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Bristol.

    Previously, Thomas worked at the European Central Bank as a Trainee in the Statistics Development and Coordination division, working primarily with the ECB’s SME access to finance survey, SAFE.

    He has also held positions as Research Assistant at the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow and as Intern at the Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol.
    His research interests cover macroeconomics and finance, particularly monetary policy transmission and central bank decision making. Thomas speaks English, conversational Spanish, and basic German.

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