I have worked in Japan on and off for the last 8 years.
I have observed that my colleagues wives are very quiet at work dinners - in fact, it's often hard to get more than a few words.
I often try to include them with little success - it just seems to make them more uncomfortable.
Most of these women are housewives raising one or two children.
I'm not entirely sure why they are universally so very quiet - whether it's cultural or they lack confidence...not sure. Their husbands make no attempt to include their wives in the conversations so perhaps their participation is discouraged.
I've noticed that can happen in Australia - some stay at home Mums can feel uncomfortable at work functions but not everyone - many are confident enough to contribute and participate in the conversations. Certainly, if you make the effort - most are happy to chat.
We have a few women in the office - they are reserved but very capable - I have noticed though, it seems difficult for women to reach senior roles in Japan - still I think that will change as time goes on.
I have been told by a Japanese colleague that their men usually prefer to marry a woman without a career preferring a wife in a supportive role - so that, educated and career women often marry foreigners. I've also, been told that marriages between western women and Japanese men usually don't work out perhaps, because western women are less likely to accept a traditional marriage.
It has taken me some time to get to know my female colleagues - they are naturally reserved people however, over time we have become closer and closer - baby steps - but it has certainly been worth the time and effort.
Just my thoughts and observations.
Last edited by Deborah49; 11/02/07 07:04 AM.