Changing Corporate Culture Key to Closing Japan’s Gender Gap

Changing Corporate Culture Key to Closing Japan’s Gender Gap
Oliver Cann, Associate Director, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 (0)79 799 3405; Email: Oliver.Cann@weforum.orgJapaneseJapan has one of the lowest female labour participation rates among OECD countriesThe Closing the Gender Gap in Japan report identifies priority actions for promoting gender equality in JapanIntegrating women into the economy is an efficient use of a nation’s human capital endowment and important for economic growthDownload the full report hereTokyo, Japan, 3 June 2014 – Gender parity is imperative to Japan’s competitiveness and addressing long-term economic challenges brought on by an ageing workforce, low fertility and an acute talent shortage, according to the Closing the Gender Gap in Japan report published today by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company.According to the report, the rate of female participation in Japan’s labour force is only 63%, compared to 85% for men. It is one of the lowest female labour participation rates among OECD countries and 79th globally. Among the employed, 35% of women are in part-time employment, compared to 10% of men.At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos, Switzerland, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe identified Japan’s female workforce as the country’s most underused resource and stated his intention for 30% of all senior leadership posts to be occupied by women in 2020.“This is an ambitious target, but it is also attainable one, provided it is backed by the correct mix of interventions, exchange between companies to share their experiences and strong support across all stakeholder groups to create a level playing field,” said Saadia Zahidi, Senior Director, Head of Gender Parity Initiatives, at the World Economic Forum.Despite some improvements in recent years in terms of the economic participation of women in the workforce, Japan continues to fall behind relative to other countries, ranking 104th out of 136 countries on the Forum’s 2013 Global Gender Gap Index. To close the gap and better leverage the female talent base, the report points to five areas where Japanese companies can improve their gender parity strategies. They include: Visible leadership and commitment to gender parity from chief executive officers and other top leadersMeasurement and target setting to track gender parity goalsAwareness and capacity building, including training for male and female managersIncentives and accountability for all managers on gender parity goalsImprovements to the work environment and work-life balanceResearch shows that 80% of Japanese companies have adopted elements around parental leave and other work-life balance policies, but only 20% of companies have established programmes around talent development, which is essential for women’s progression.“This report highlights the specific need for Japanese companies to focus on talent development as they look to advance women in their organizations,” said Georges Desvaux, Managing Director of the Tokyo office of McKinsey & Company.The report shows that gender diversity is increasingly being recognized as a necessity for reputation and serves as an impetus for change in some Japanese companies, while others have made gender diversity a strategic priority to leverage the gains from diversity-fuelled innovation and improve insights into consumer behaviour.Findings from Closing the Gender Gap in Japan are drawn from surveys of companies conducted jointly with the Keizai Doyukai and J-Win, as well as from the World Economic Forum’s Japan Gender Parity Task Force, which serves as a platform for private-private and public-private dialogue and analysis to support the efforts of multiple stakeholders on closing the gender gap.Notes to EditorsDownload the report at http://wef.ch/cjgg14For more information on the Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme: http://wef.ch/genderView the best Forum Flickr photos at http://wef.ch/pixBecome a fan of the Forum on Facebook at http://wef.ch/facebookFollow the Forum on Twitter at http://wef.ch/twitterRead the Forum blog at http://wef.ch/blogView upcoming Forum events at http://wef.ch/eventsSubscribe to Forum news releases at http://wef.ch/newsShare this:Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)