Falling short on closing the gender gap . . .
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has mandated that 4,000 listed firmsdisclose the ratio of women in managerial positions in their annual securities reports, starting as early as April 2023. The FSA is further considering requirements for these companies to reveal their gender wage gaps and the ratio of male to female workers on childcare leave. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 'womenomics' plan was meant to increase the share of women in leadership positions to 30 per cent by 2020; however, the plan fell short, and the FSA's policy represents another significant attempt by Japan to minimize its gender employment gap under the new Kishida Administration.
Japan's glass ceiling . . .
Japan has lagged behind other OECD countries in tackling the gender employment gap – the country has the worst gender pay gap amongst G7 nations and ranked 120th among 156 countries in 2021. Women's participation remains especially low in the political and economic realms and managerial positions due to drastic pay differences, unpaid domestic work obligations, and a lack of female representation. An average full-time female worker only earns 74.3 per cent of her male counterparts' monthly salary. Although the nation offers the most generous paid parental leave globally, fewer than three per cent of males in Japan report taking parental leave to share the responsibility of caregiving. In 2020, females also only held 15 per cent of leadership posts.
The solution in the problem . . .
Due to its aging workforce and the pandemic's disproportionate effect on female employment, Japan needs to address its underutilized and under-leveraged female working population to revitalize its stagnant economy. Japan is the fastest aging society amongst the OECD countries. With close to 30 per cent of the nation's population over 65, Japan is experiencing a labour shortage. It is thus essential to economically integrate women, who represented 44 per cent of the entire Japanese labour force as of 2019. Young females (25-34 years) in Japan have a higher average tertiary education attainment rate than their male counterparts, suggesting that boosting women's employment participation and quality could be a quick solution to fire up the country’s economic engine.