Not so long ago, young Japanese women lived in terminal fear of becoming christmas cake
s. Their predetermined goal in life
was to find a husband a become a housewife
. Higher education for them was seen mostly as an asset in the marriage market
, not the foundation of a career.
The OL profession came into being as a way to kill time while looking for a husband, and as a way to meet prospective husbands. Many a married couple first met in the office.
Nowadays, all of this is becoming less universally true as Japanese society is changing.