Women faced greater difficulty finding jobs than men in parts of the Tohoku region hit hardest by the March 11 disasters, a labor ministry survey on jobless benefit recipients showed.
In November, there were roughly 40 percent more female recipients, at 37,601, than male, at 26,631, compared with almost equal numbers for both sexes before the disasters, the data said.
The data released late last year by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry covered Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the three prefectures most damaged by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami.
Job offers have been on the rise in the region, but many are related to construction or civil engineering as reconstruction demand — a type of work deemed more suitable for men — rises.
The slow recovery of the fishing industry in the area, which employed many women before the disasters, is also making it difficult to find employment.
The labor ministry released the data at the request of a women’s rights group.
In February, before the disasters, jobless benefit recipients numbered about 14,500 males and 15,000 females. Afterward, female recipients surged to around 45,000, passing men by a margin of over 10,000 in the peak month of June.
Subsequent employment aid measures and reconstruction work helped curb joblessness but female recipients continued to outnumber men by around 10,000.
Female job seekers also far outpaced men in November at 74,000 women, against 62,500 men.
The central government has come up with measures to help civic groups and private businesses hire more women and disabled people in the disaster areas.
But a group supporting women in those areas said nonprofit organizations run chiefly by women are at a disadvantage in bidding on projects that may promise jobs as they lack expertise in obtaining tender offer information and producing project plans.
Jobless benefits are provided to those who have joined employment insurance for designated periods and lost their jobs. Depending on age and reasons for leaving jobs, they are eligible for benefits for between 90 and 330 days in principle.
The government extended the period by up to 120 days for workers in the disaster-hit areas and another 90 days for some coastal regions devastated even more badly.