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Japan snack maker smashes stereotypes by promoting women

Decades of advancing female workers bring uninterrupted profit

Yuriko Iida, a team leader, says she picked Sanshu Seika because it allowed her to continue working after becoming a mother. (Photo courtesy of Sanshu Seika)

TOKYO -- Japanese companies can be notoriously sexist, smaller businesses especially so -- or so the stereotype goes. But one snack maker about 50 km from Tokyo has minded the gender gap for decades.

"Working here, I feel like I won't be denied opportunities because of my gender or my age," said Yuriko Iida, a team leader at Sanshu Seika, a mid-size company in the city of Kasukabe. As a mother of a four- and a two-year-old, she joined Sanshu because it allowed her to advance her career even after becoming a mother -- something that unfortunately can be an uphill battle in many of Japan's workplaces.

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