TOKYO – Among the major listed companies of Japan, 33.4% did not have any female executives, as per the information provided by the country’s cabinet office. In fact, in certain sectors like shopping, almost 50% of the companies don’t have women in higher roles. 

The information was made available by the Cabinet Office earlier this month, as per a report in Japan Times. It revealed that while there are 2189 companies named in the first section of Tokyo Stock Exchange, 732 of them did not have women in executive roles till July as per the official records. Though the government has been consistently working towards improving gender representation in the workforce, the number of female executives has fallen from 2017’s 62%. 

The data was also divided on the basis of individual sectors. Nine of the 33 sectors under consideration had only 50% companies that had women executives. The worst performing sectors in this regard were shipping and the paper industry where 70% companies didn’t have women in executive roles. Industries like steel, machinery and real estate also have been slow in terms of uptake of women leaders. The highest ratio of female executives was in the electricity and gas sector, with banking and air transport coming in second and third respectively. 

The country’s Minister of State for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Seiko Noda addressed the press for the release of this data. According to the Japan Times report, she told the mediapersons that research has shown companies with more female executives perform better financially, and this fact should encourage more Japanese enterprises to hire women in leadership positions. 

Japan has made it mandatory for listed companies to share their female hiring numbers with the Government, which are then published by the Cabinet Office on its website since last year. This is a part of The Fifth Basic Plan For Gender Equality that was adopted through a cabinet decision in December 2020 with the aim of increasing the number of women business leaders in the country. However, these plans were derailed by the covid pandemic. 

The Japanese government had earlier set the goal of having women fill up 30% of the executive positions in the country by 2020. In a policy review last year, the goal was pushed to be accomplished “whenever possible in the 2020’s”. The most recent action of the Government came in the form of The Intensive Policy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women 2021 which details the focus areas for the current fiscal year.