Work Style Reform – How Can Women (and Men too) Shine? Gender Time Gap and Gender Equality in Japan and Germany

The challenges of demographic change and the demand for more participation of women in the labor force require family-friendly working conditions as a fundamental prerequisite for better reconciliation of family and working life. Employers have recognized and acknowledged that fathers also want opportunities to reconcile their work and family commitments.

All women should be able to fully develop their abilities and thus "shine": This is a declared goal of the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzô. To achieve this goal, however, many hurdles still have to be overcome. In modern society, in which gainful employment is the basis for an independent life, every citizen must have the opportunity for a living income. In this working society, working time is a crucial factor in people's lives; their lifestyles and opportunities depend on how long or short their respective working lives are, how long they work, weeks and days, and whether they work full-time or part-time. The factor of (working) time thus creates a difference between working people and the way people work. And this difference also determines the gender difference.

In Japan, working hours are extremely unequally distributed: Some have to work over long periods of time, some have no work at all and some - 70% of them women - have to work part-time without social security. But even in Germany there is still a large difference in working hours between men and women (about 8 hours per week, 2016). And the part-time rate among mothers is even 70%, while only 6% of fathers are employed part-time.

So it is above all the (working) time that decides whether one can build a livelihood, whether one can reconcile work, family and other areas of life and also combine professional work with caring for children, sick and old people. And this in turn will determine whether and how the still existing gender-specific differences and inequalities between the sexes can be reduced.

The conference shall investigate how home, company and society can shine more and how equal opportunities for men and women can contribute to this goal. The conference shall also help to prepare the ground for a better work-life balance of women and men. We want to discuss this with stakeholders from business, politics and academia, and look into hurdles and challenges as well as into opportunities.

Date: 6 November 2018, 14:00 - 17:00

Venue: Keidanren Kaikan
(1 Chome-3-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo)

Language: Japanese/English (simultaneous translation)

Hosted by: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB), Keizei Koho Center (KKC). Supported by: German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ)

Japan Office

7-5-56 Akasaka
Tokyo, 107-0052

+03 6277-7551
+03 3588-6035


Photo: FES Japan


EPRIE 2019 - Overcoming the challenges posed by social media: How to make it work for social change?

EPRIE aims to share and exchange perspectives and experiences between East Asia and Europe. In 2018, we examined the challenges posed to the media sector by populism and post-truth politics. This year, together with media practitioners, actors from civil society, scholars and politicians, we will focus on social media as a tool for social change.

Read more

C20 Summit "Promoting Peace, Human Rights and Democratic Governance through the SDG 16+"

Growing inequality, humanitarian crisis and violation of fundamental human rights threaten the international community. As conditions and space for civic society to find solutions to these challenges remain restricted, protecting human rights and the freedom of civic society are crucial. To achieve the SDG 16 focusing on Peace, Human Rights and Democratic Governance the civil society and the world leaders of the G20 must solve global challenges together. During the 2019 Summit "Promoting Peace, Human Rights and Democratic Governance through the SDG 16+" the Tokyo Democracy Forum will review and discuss these challenges within SDG 16 and adopt the Declaration of Tokyo Democracy Forum.




Read more

Lecture "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Middle Powers Amidst Global Power Shifts"

Less wars, more prosperity—that is a global trend since the end of the Cold War. Yet, illiberalism is increasingly spreading, even in democratic countries, and nationalist populism has come to define the policies of some of the great powers. Do we head towards a world where—to speak with Thucydides—the strong do as they like while the weak do as they must? The most fragile and vulnerable states—the Middle Powers—have to find ways out of the conundrum. To that end, they must find solutions regarding the problems in their own societies.


Dr. Volker Stanzel is the former ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Japan and China and currently serves as the Vice President of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Senior Distinguished Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), and President of the Association of German-German-Japanese Societies.


Read more
Graphic: J. Traud

Latest Publications

Publication "The future of the German automotive industry. Transformation by disaster or by design?"

New concepts of digital mobility from China and Silicon Valley and the issue of environmental driving bans for diesel cars pose grave challenges to the traditional German car industry - the backbone of the German economy. German policies must support the transformation of mobility by initiating a stakeholder dialogue to forge a pact for future mobility to transform the German automotive industry.

Read more

"Education and Patriotism" - A Documentary

The TV documentary "Education and Patriotism" (Kyōiku to aikoku) provides a critical look at recent debates surrounding the introduction of moral education in Japanese elementary and middle schools as a new subject and in particular focuses on the compilation, examination, approval and selection of textbooks for classes in moral education, while extending the analysis to the ongoing history textbook controversies.

Read more

Renewable Energy Policies and the Energy Transition in Japan

This report outlines Japan’s renewable energy policy and the state of the energy transition in the country. It includes current prospects for climate change policy and the status of electrical power systems including nuclear power issues, status sand support policy of renewable energy as well as social issues and political feasibility. Furthermore, long-term vision and scenarios for promoting an energy transition are discussed, including community power and credit systems. Finally, policy recommendations are proposed for promoting energy transition in Japan.

Read more