Headline Mar 26, 2015/ ''' JAPAN : 30% WOMEN-LEADERSHIP POSITIONS -2020 '''


POSITIONS -2020 '''

THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN has a great sense of humour. He likes to joke that if Lehman Brothers had been:

''Lehman Brothers and Sisters,'' it probably wouldn't have collapsed.

In the culture and traditional concepts and practices, -in Japan, anyone over 40 was brought up with the idea that woman should be '' a good wife and mother'' while the husband went to work.

At school, boys studied engineering and technology, while girls did home economics. 

That's changing now. Boys also study home economics. The Ministry of health is running a campaign to encourage dads to play an active role in raising children.

Still, the old ways of thinking remain enshrined in the tax and social insurance systems. The system appears to set a higher value of stay-at-home mothers. Through tax deductions and pension benefits, it suggests-

That while working part-time is okay, a mother's main responsibility should be the housework and the children. The current system can't be scrapped overnight, but it can shift.

PROUD JAPAN has two problems. One is that around  60%  of Japanese women quit their jobs when they have a child, rather than taking temporary maternity leave.

The second area Japan underperforms is the ratio of women in general management, which is around  10-11%. With women in directorial positions, the ratio is just 1%.

So, the Prime Minister wants to make Japan  ''a place where women shine''.

Japan as an ageing society and a falling birthrate. Inevitably, that will cut the working age population and depress economic growth. Raising women's employment rate can help counteract this fall and maintain growth.

At the same time, Abe has a profound belief in the merits of diversity. He believes that more diversity on board means better decision making, better risk management, and greater resilience to change.

So, what practical steps are being taken to encourage mothers to continue working?

Traditionally, childcare facilities in Japan have been run by nonprofit social welfare corporations (SWCs) . With no competition, the  SWCs had little incentive to improve services or expand.

The result was long awaiting-lines to get in. METI has long held the position that the management and running of childcare facilities should be opened up to businesses.

In June 2013, the government announced goals to reduce the childcare waiting lists to zero by adding  200,000 places in 2012  and  400,000  by the end of 2017.

This approach worked in Yokohama, which went from having the worst waiting lists to eliminating them altogether in three years because the mayor encouraged the participation of businesses.

Is Japan also trying to change the attitudes?

Yes. In 2012 METIs teamed up with Tokyo Stock Exchange to launch Nodeshiko Brand. Every year, says Riwa Sakamoto, Director METI economic and social policy office,  ''we highlight the companies-

On the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange that are most supportive of women.

We want to show the investors that firms with a higher level of female participation have greater growth potential. The reaction was far stronger than we expected.

Top managers really want to see their companies on our list.   

We're also doing something else with the Nodeshiko Brand called the Diversity Management Selection 100. It's directed at the business community. 

We identify examples of diversity best practice and the innovation it sparks for other businesses''.

Riwa Sakamoto,  the mother of four girls, seems to be a living proof that things are looking up for working women in the country

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Japan. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Open To The World '''  

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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