Make Way For Japanese Women With Welding Guns

Japanese women are winning more rights--and factory jobs

Madoka Matsumae, 24, doesn't want to be treated like a man, just to earn as much as one. For six years, she has snapped rings onto pistons at Mazda Motor Corp.'s engine plant in Hiroshima. Yet unlike her male colleagues, Matsumae leaves work every day at 5:30 p.m. Japanese factory workers can earn up to 30% more than their regular pay by doing night shifts. But women have been banned from working after 10 p.m. or putting in more than six hours of overtime a week.

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