• Japan’s Upper house passes bill to increase women workforce participation

    Fielding its hope on women, Japan envisages a revival in its economy which has been stagnant for years now. Japan’s economy has been skating on thin ice due to its declining population rate along with shrinking labour pool. Lower female workforce participation doesn’t help either. Understanding this, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe initiated reforms to work with analogies to achieve gender parity. Coining ‘Womenomics’ as his new reformation policy, he aims to salvage the ailing economy by having more women in leadership roles. Taking this forward, Diet, the National legislature of Japan has passed bill to increase women participation in the overall workforce.

    Kicking off his ‘Abenomics‘ policy in 2012, Abe had said, “Abenomics wont succeed without Womenomics”. Setting its new goal, he expects to diversify country’s overall workforce by increasing women in leadership roles to nearly 30 per cent by 2020.

     The new law stipulates;

    •  Companies with 301 or more employees to set numerical targets for employing and promoting women.
    •  Increased public accountability, companies to disclose new targets publicly.
    •  Companies allowed to set numerical target after analysing company’s situation, no penalty if fails to achieve the goal.
    •  Companies to get acknowledged for their decisive efforts, to enjoy preferable treatment in public contracts.

    Yasuko Oshima, a senior economist at Mizuho research Institute Ltd asserts that lack of minimum targets could weaken effectiveness of the law. Without having a minimum target the companies might set achievable numerable targets rather than risking failure with ambitious goals reports Japan Times. While Increase accountability will help radicalize work structure as any failure has the potential to damage company’s goodwill argues Mari Miura, a professor of gender and Politics at Sophia University.

    Nearly 60 per cent of women quit work in Japan post pregnancy failing to adjust to the long working hours realm of Japan’c corporate culture. The law is also said to address the issue of long working hours to bridge the existing gender gap.

    Giving more power to women in the economy is set to boost Japan’s economy by a gigantic 13 per cent. Yes, Japanese women are among the most highly educated assets the country owns, although it fails to utilise it optimally, exploiting its potential among the developed world.

    Japan has been struggling to induce more women in business due to its receptive male dominated work culture. In 2014, women accounted to only 11.3 per cent of the overall workforce, sharply lower than many other developed countries like U.S and U.K. which reportedly have been able to involve 30 to 40 per cent of women in their overall workforce.

    Photo Credit: thediplomat.com