Interesting New York Times article on The Female Factor.  The stats on women in the workforce were surprising to me.  I think more women who are just a little bit older than me (say late twenties and thirties) are demanding that they be able to work full-time and be mothers, and that there be social benefits or workplace benefits in place to help them do both.

It is striking to me that women in Germany have had to choose between a career and a family for so long.  As noted in the article, birthrates are linked with the ability of women being able to take maternity leave, have access to quality childcare and limit any negative effects on their career.  It is fantastic that through the childcare credit Germany offers, men are encouraged to also take time off when a child is born.

In contrast, Japan offers very little in the way of maternity leave or support to women who choose to have children.  Young women today often choose having a career over motherhood, since having both puts women in an untenable position. I would argue that this is a major influence on the significantly declining birthrate that is making some worry about the future of Japan.