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Nissan CEO: Abe's goal to have 30% of bosses women too ambitious

31 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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31 Comments
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" I don't blame women for not wanting to work in Japanese companies where their promotion prospects are zero and their salaries are well below men's ... If they can even get a full-time job, which again is hopelessly skewed in favor of men. Not to mention sexual harassment and other problems. The number of women who would rather be housewives just shows that Japanese women have a considerably better grasp of the current job situation for women than you do Mr. Galt. Do us all a favor and look up "cause" and "effect" in the dictionary. Once you've wrapped your head around these concepts then come back again and we can discuss the issue further."

What clueless drivel! Your understanding of "cause and effect" is like saying it rains because the ground appears wet. Try reading a book. Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson, just as a warm up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

51 % idea: As if entire females never accomplish anything in their field.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stupidest words ever written on a business blog "Anything other than a goal of 51% (the percentage of women in the population) is discriminatory and unconstitutional."

Equal opportunity based on equal ability/talent. Mandating quotas is utterly stupid.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Has anyone really been stopping them?

The fact that you even ask this indicates that you really shouldn't be commenting on this topic.

So, does this mean we will see women being promoted over men because of the gender and not their abilities? Perhaps. Which is wrong and doesn't help women at all. Hire the best person for the job regardless of gender.

What is becoming an issue right now though is that when women ARE hired because they are the best person for the job, many men are moaning that the only reason why she was hired was because of the fact that she's a woman and ignore her qualifications, skills and experience. I can't count how many times I have heard foreign men here moaning about this when they don't get a job and a female does. I don't doubt that some Japanese men are making the same comments.

And what percentage of men would like to be home makers? The designers of the survey didn't even ask, which just shows the biased uselessness of that piece of "news". I 100% agree with you. We can't expect women to make it in the business world and yet ignore the fact that some guys would rather stay home and look after the kids. Thing is, until women are paid equally and are able to support a family like some men are, this won't happen.

As for 30%, laughable. Frankly, 10% is laughable in this country. Plenty of well educated and driven women but they get overlooked because of their gender! Hence my comment above to Tim.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

NO, no nonono...... this is where affirmative action steps in and lowers the quality of companies everywhere just to meet quotas.

Nissan's CEO is right.

It's a good thing to make work environments easier for women, who are biologically required to be the baby-producing machines of the family unit. We need nurseries in the bigger companies at least (they have them in Chicago! Not such a stretch for Tokyo). But that's as far as it should go. Being a woman does not quality you for being a boss, even if there are only 20% chicks in the top ranks of any given company. Being an effective employee, and a strong, wise, thick-skinned leader makes you a boss. Any person who does not fit those qualifications should not be put into the position, vagina or not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So many ill-informed assumptions flying around here I wonder if we really are in the information revolution.

What gender equality in leadership means is not just about having 50/50 gender balance leadership regardless of experience, skill or ability, it's about having EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. Many women in Japan are more than capable of being leaders in their companies and government but more often than not they are simply overlooked just because they are female.

That is the wrong that has to be righted.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

John Galt - And what percentage of men would like to be home makers? The designers of the survey didn't even ask, which just shows the biased uselessness of that piece of "news".

You think you have a point, but you don't. Even if it is true I don't blame women for not wanting to work in Japanese companies where their promotion prospects are zero and their salaries are well below men's ... If they can even get a full-time job, which again is hopelessly skewed in favor of men. Not to mention sexual harassment and other problems.

The number of women who would rather be housewives just shows that Japanese women have a considerably better grasp of the current job situation for women than you do Mr. Galt.

Do us all a favor and look up "cause" and "effect" in the dictionary. Once you've wrapped your head around these concepts then come back again and we can discuss the issue further.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@falseflagsteve, @Timtak

It's got little to do with western cultural values. It's about survival and human rights. Nobody is suggesting we somehow force women into roles they are not interested in.

The point is, there are many capable women who would love to be in leadership roles and have greater responsibility in government positions but they can't! Japanese cultural norms dictate that women are somehow not as good as men as leaders.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I see Japan continuing to fall in female participation and leadership world rankings; there simply is too little motivation to move forward among both men and women. Korea, which has very similar cultural values as Japan and has previously been struggle to promote women in the workplace is now charging ahead.

This recent presentation by a renowned Japanese female professor on the issue is interesting:

"Womenomics: Trump Card for Japan's Resurrection https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVlPhsi5EjI&index=8&list=PLx6HSftgCXO36fMOEVdFwkTbEc7JrWWMU

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Timtak is 100% correct regarding this. Most people here post with Western views and believing that those ways are the best. We don't see a push for 50% males in nursing or teaching as more females choose those jobs. We also do not see a push for more female construction workers as mostly males choose these jobs. It is a matter of choice which politicians and the elite should butt out of.

Abe and business leaders want more women in the workplace to increase GBP which does not mean a better lifestyle for the masses just a small amount of already very rich.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"Anything other than a goal of 51% (the percentage of women in the population) is discriminatory and unconstitutional."

Ha! Talk about disconnected from reality! Pretty impossible since in Japan 43% of women prefer to be housewives.

The Japan News: 43% of women want wives to be at home

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well I would hope that they would not break down and cry like women politicians when being challenged.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No. No. No.

Anything other than a goal of 51% (the percentage of women in the population) is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The solution? Hit companies where the care, their bottom line. Fine companies the difference between their salary expenditure on male and female employees, i.e. If they pay all male employees combined 300 million yen and all female employees combined 100 million yen then they're fined 200 million yen per year. The fine money should go to scholarships and other programs to empower women.

This will help prevent wage discrimination and companies will quickly realise that to avoid paying the fine all they need to do is pay women more. It has been proven that companies value higher paid employees more and while women may temporarily be paid more for the same job promotions will follow and the situation will stabilize.

And if companies just take the fine on the chin? Well, Japanese women will be the best educated in the world and will be courted by international companies who know a good deal when they see it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I think I'll weigh Ghosn's insight with his many years of successfully leading in business over Abe's populist-driven drivel and pathetic business acumen.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Most Japanese women can wither their male peers with a glance, so if they had really wanted to get there, they would be top managers already.

timtak -- this is the ONLY part of your post that I agree with. And the other part of that, of course, is that the men know it, and they know that given an even playing field, the women would bury them. So better to keep them "barefoot and pregnant" as the saying goes, and if Japan suffers as a result, too bad.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I wish companies would stop trying to make things "equal" and just hire the person that is best for the job.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So, does this mean we will see women being promoted over men because of the gender and not their abilities? I'm not saying which gender is better suited, but management positions should not be given because of gender or age. They should be given on ability, education and experience. This whole 'sempai' business culture in Japan is what is keeping Japan a generation behind the rest of the 'modern' world of business. You have all these great young minds leaving university with fresh education. They fight hand over fist to gain a position in a company because of their grades and abilities and then spend the next 30 years of their life being told what to do. It's utterly ridiculous!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japanese women need to be stronger mentally as well. Corporate life ain't a walk in the park, so they better be ready to lead and not doubt themselves in the face of turmoil. Though they may get higher grades in school, real life is a whole lot different and requires a tough, resilient character if they expect to be promoted anywhere.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Actually I think both Ghosn and Abe are right in their own way. Sure, Abe's 30% is way too ambitious for a country ranked #105 in terms of opportunities for women, but he needed to throw out a big number, since there needs to be a BIG change in senior corporate thinking in Japan, not simply incremental change. But, Ghosn is correct in pushing back by saying the additions cannot come at the expense of quality of senior management. Remember, companies are owned by shareholders, and they have a right to expect the best senior management, not one picked to satisfy Abe's social goals. Nissan is already way ahead of most Japanese companies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thanks to timtak for a different perspective.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan remains a tough culture for women but it is changing. Putting the idea out there that having more females in high management positions will help with attitudes. Japanese women are not marrying as they traditionally have so might as well encourage them to use their skills in the workplace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yes 30% is too high considering western countries only average around 15%. id think 10~15% by 2020 would be a good target for Japan.. youll have to wait until a few more of the old Japanese bosses retire along with there chauvinistic attitudes

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Ghosan is realistic and right, He is not interested in rate. He is more interested in glooming managers.

Ghosn said he didn't want a negative effect by having women fail as a result of being promoted with insufficient experience, which would be a step backward.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Most of the Japanese women I know and teach want to be full time care-givers for a considerable portion of their lives from the time that they conceive to the time that their children no longer need their full time care about 15 to 20 years later. This almost precludes them from top managerial positions, since they will lack the experience, continuity, network of contacts, that their male peers will have built up.

Most of my students admire their mothers more than their fathers, even the males, and have an ambition to do as their mother did -- raise a happy family. They do not see success in the workplace as of paramount importance and respect the option provided to women -- that of being able to retire at 30 for 16 years -- as much as if not more than any Ghosn who is after all, just another sarari-man - a man who provides salary for a family.

Why do men feel it their prerogative to "promote" women to managerial positions? If they are taken out of the home, out of their position of authority as housewife and mother, then aren't they being demoted?

Provide women with jobs to returned to after their children have fled the nest by all means, but top management? Has anyone really been stopping them? Most Japanese women can wither their male peers with a glance, so if they had really wanted to get there, they would be top managers already.

Does Ghosn recieve pocket money? His Japanese counterparts at Toyota and Honda probably do. In which case they probably have far less disposable income than their wives, making a mockery of the notion that women are paid less than men in Japan.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Well the viewpoint from trenches is that both men and women in growing percentages don't even want to become managers. It is just a lot more work and responsibility with slightly more pay. The entire system should be improved for all workers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Obviously Ghosn is correct - going to 30% ratio in Japan in just a few years is just laughable ,pie in the sky soundbite politics on Abe`s part. Kudos for trying to improve the unbalance , but be a bit more realistic - if Japan gets near 10% in 6 years they will be doing well.

But hey , the boys can always form another "study panel, discussion group or an advisory body / institute " to "study" why the target wasnt achieved. Thatll keep the amakudari club happy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with both the comments and with Ghosn. There is nothing more injurious to "the cause", whatever that may be, than promoting a certain group of people above their reach and grasp merely because they fall into a targeted group. Whatever the group. Promotion should come down to if someone is qualified for the job in which they are applying. Then, and only then, is a desired target demographic to take a role in decision making.

Unfortunately for women in Japan, that means that growing to a larger number is going to be a slow process merely because of the fact that they are starting from such a disadvantage. It takes time for anyone, regardless of potential, to get experience at the lower levels enough to be qualified for a board-level position. Since there are so few women in the spots below board member, that means those lower positions have to be brought up first.

It's going to be a slow process, one that I think will benefit Japan (provided the oyaji don't drag their feet and hamstring too much), but it should be a slow one as well. A generation perhaps, at least.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

3 years to up it by 3% doesn't seem unreasonable to me for Nissan, but then....I know nothing about their situation.

Agree with semperfi.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ah, men rely on women to run the house, educate their children wash their clothes shop for food, look after the budget. But heaven forbid they can be a manager? Women out perform boys at school, University. But apparently just are Not able to do the same in the work place.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I agree with you 100% semperfi: I'd rather Japanese companies try hard to reach 30% women managers by 2020 and fail to just 15%, rather than not not try to reach for the heavens because it is too far!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ghosn is right . . . However, Abe put the idea 'out there' and that is good. . . .What was it the famed poet Robert Browning wrote ? . . .A man' grasp should exceed his reach - or what's a heaven for.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

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