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  1. Introduction of Female Suffrage
  2. Tokuju (Special Order) Boom and Female Workers
  3. Increase of Female Employees
  4. Popularity of American Style Fashion and Western Dressmaking
  5. Part-time Female Workers
  6. Women and Agriculture
  7. Ama (Female Diver)
  8. Marriage Retirement and Retirement Ages for Men and Women
  9. Office Ladies (OL)
  10. Dual Tracks in Female Occupations: Ippan Shoku (Non-Career Track) and Sōgō Shoku (Career Track)
  11. Laws Regarding Working Women
  12. Sexual Harassment
  13. Low Birth Rate and Working Women
  14. Separate Surnames for Married Couples
  15. Female dominant occupations
  16. “Mighty” Women: Police and the Military Self Defense Force
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Women in military uniforms stand at attention
Eleven women became the first female SDF personnel when they enlisted in March 1968. Three were housewives.
Photo from Mainichi Shimbun.
“Mighty” Women: Police and the Military Self Defense Force
After the new Constitution was enacted in 1947, women earned new rights and expanded their activities. There was a saying that referred to these active women: “Women and stockings became strong after the war”. The Self Defense Force and police, which had traditionally been “men’s work,” gradually opened their doors to women as part of this trend. In 1946, shortly after the end of the war, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department hired the first female police officers. Today, female members of mobile traffic units ride on their white motorcycles all over Japan. Their job is to catch traffic violators. The Self Defense Force (SDF), whose membership was originally limited to men, accepted the first eleven female members in March 1968. Now they provide a trial tour of duty for young women so that they can recruit more female members. Click PICTURES below to see a photo of female members of the Ōsaka Prefectural Police Mobile Traffic Unit. Click CHARTS to see the changes over time in the number of females in “security-related occupations,” which include SDF officers, police officers, fire fighters, prison guards, and security guards.
Special Terms: Self Defence Force (SDF)

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