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FOCUS September 2019 Volume 97

Single Female Workers in Osaka City: A Survey

Creo Osaka Central

The following report is an edited version of the summary report of the Osaka Municipal Gender Equality Center on its survey of unmarried female workers in Osaka city.1

Online Survey

The Osaka Municipal Gender Equality Center undertook an online survey of four hundred females in their 20s to 50s without children who live in Osaka city and work as non-regular employees. The online survey was undertaken on 21-28 September 2018.

In order to understand the impact of social security and relevant governmental policies, the survey considered as married persons only those who have registered their marriage. Those without children, whether living together or separately, were covered as subjects of the survey.

The 2018 online survey of single female workers in Osaka revealed that a high percentage of female workers were working part-time with no fixed period of employment.

Background and Objectives of the Survey

Low marriage rate among workers is one of the current trends in the labor market in Japan. Also, there has been no increase in the number of regular workers for both females and males over the years. This situation results in increased number of  non-regular workers. Under these social circumstances, the online survey was undertaken in order to clarify what the single females who are non-regular employees think of their jobs and lives. The online survey was undertaken in order to have a basis for considering measures in pursuit of gender equal society.

Summary of the Survey Results

The online survey revealed the following major findings:

60 percent of the single female respondents are “part-time workers.” And more than 70 percent answered that “their employment has no fixed period set.”2

60 percent of the single female respondents are working for  thirty hours a week or more, whereas about half of the married female respondents work for less than twenty hours a week, which implies that the latter are adjusting their income and work conditions;

More than 50 percent of the single female respondents receive “less than 2 million Japanese Yen as their personal annual income,” and even for household income, nearly 30 percent responded that they have “less than 2 million Japanese Yen” annual income. Half of the single female respondents have housemates, and 40 percent responded that this was “because it is financially difficult to live alone.” These results reveal the fact that they rely on the support from “family members” in order to live;

30 percent of the single female respondents answered that working as non-regular employee was “the unavoidable choice.” Even among those who answered that “it was a choice they willingly took,” many of them implied in the general comment section of the survey questionnaire that they did not freely wanted “non-regular employment.”

Support for Maintaining and Improving “Life Sustainability”

Single females working as non-regular employees face diversified challenges, which make them seriously anxious. However, some of their anxiety or discontent could be cleared, though not by improving every aspect of their conditions all at once, by improving their condition on their own effort, which is what we call “one stage-up.” It can be said that starting their own empowerment even in a step-by-step manner is important for the support being extended to them under the public policy on non-regular female employees.

The Osaka Municipal Gender Equality Center collaborated with Utae Mori, a professor at the Faculty of Economics, Osaka University of Economics, in undertaking the online survey.

For further information, please contact: Creo Osaka Central, 5-6-25 Ueshio, Tennouji-ku, Osaka, 543-0002; ph 816-6770-7200; fax 816-6770-7705;;


1 See website of the Osaka Municipal Gender Equality Center.
2 In practice, contract with no fixed period means continuous employment  but the company may terminate it for whatever reason.