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New law requires companies to set goals in hiring female execs

40 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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40 Comments
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Great, women managers, get ready for vicious and intricate head games in the office.

Men will get off easy, but in power situations women eat each other alive.

Let the games begin.

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

I don't agree with setting numerical targets. The most qualified person should get the job, whether it is a man or a woman.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Great news! 50% of the country’s population might now have a chance to show their abilities. With Japan’s economic future in question, maybe some of these women - if given a proper chance - can bring a different perspective to managing business and government.

@Burning Bush Men will get off easy, but in power situations women eat each other alive.

Are you seriously suggesting men in power situations don’t eat each other alive? The worst power plays I have ever seen have been men on men. And are you suggesting Japan Inc. doesn’t need a few changes in how things are run? Whether women in management can make a difference remains to be seen, but I certainly believe their chances to get more closely involved in decision making are long overdue.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Great, just another showcase item. Set numerical targets when you politicians harass and heckle women representatives and just do your old boys club of bowing and apologizing when not really meaning any of it. Good just to show the world that you're an advanced nation.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@brainiac

I don't agree with setting numerical targets. The most qualified person should get the job, whether it is a man or a woman.

How's that worked in the past? In your country, do you have "positive discrimination", non-discrimination type regulations or laws? If so, why were they enacted?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is a stupid idea. Men and womens goals are compleatly different. Just look at how any small, medium business have been established and then kept operating for any amount of time, look at the development history of those business. There are some women that do want to achieve long term goals in the work place and business world and there are many that do not, just like some men. The fact is they give up and change there goals with the seasons. YES and to all those knockers who dont agree just spend a life in business and then come back and tell me. If you start putting women by % we just end up with more eye candy.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Ah, affirmative action.

Yes, 11 % percent of managers are women, but is that because men are hiring men or is that because there just aren't nearly as many qualified women to hire? You can't hire what's not available.

I taught English at one of the largest companies in Japan once and about one percent of the engineers were women, not because of hiring practices but because there weren't many female engineering graduates. Every manager at that company said they try to hire more women but there were so few to hire because young women mostly choose other career paths.

It sends the wrong message to men and women if you hire or promote based on gender percentages.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I'm all for equality in the workplace, but this seems like it's just a push to have the 'token woman' in management. If they have the skills, experience and education to do the job, great! However, if they are just being promoted because they wear a skirt it is discrimination against men, is t it?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Toothless and meaningless. But it's okay because it's a stupid idea to begin with.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@harvey - it is true that there are not a lot of female engineers, but I am sure girls are not encouraged to enter the field. This is a 10-year plan so hopefully it encourages some young ladies to feel encouraged to enter engineering programs. Yes, promotion should be based on ability. I think the point here is that in traditional Japanese business style, women are not as often even considered for promotions or put on a 'career track' from the minute they enter the company. I see this as a chance to tell women 'if you want that promotion, it is now in your reach. Go for it'

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan a country where a fleet of uniformed female workers, many with university educations, who run errands and pour tea for male bosses.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'm all for equality in the workplace

Me too, and I'm all for women having better opportunities if they want to go down the career path too. And to the extent these things can be improved, sure go ahead and try to make it happen. But that's as far as it goes. The idea that improving the role of women is somehow going to solve bigger picture economic and demographic problems is nuts, and smacks of people exploiting the situation to push their pet ideas and projects (which pretty much sums up the whole "third arrow" anyways). The role of women in the Japanese economy is the same as it always has been, nothing has changed to contribute to the economic and demographic situation of today. It is the same or better than when Japan was booming and, according to the "experts" of the day, going to take over the global economy. The real problems and solutions are elsewhere, no matter how much time the government wants to waste pretending otherwise. But dealing with those issues would require actual competence and understanding of economics, so we get superficial nonsense like this instead.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good. More tea and photocopies for everybody. Anyway here nothing really changes in society here...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think the right person for the job should be employed and by setting targets in law can not be seen as equal.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It also only requires that targets be set, not met, and does not address a lack of enforcement of existing requirements for companies to give equal pay for equal work.

Talk is cheap, and all this will do is give Abe more horse-manure to shovel when he talks about issues related to women.

Quota's are wrong, in my opinion,, but in this society, it MAY be the only way to push changes as the men who run things do not see women as their equal.

Companies can publish whatever the hell they want, following it is another thing.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If this is the start of a sustained policy shift towards protecting workers from discrimination for gender, age, and other natural conditions and from unfair dismissals, bullying, unpaid overtime and other harsh labour practices, then we should applaud the move, but it seems to be more of a one-off with a different agenda at play. It's notable that as part of Abe's class warfare, the new law focuses on manager-class women, who similar to their male counterparts are more likely to have graduated from elite universities. To get into these universities, most students will have attended expensive jukus (cram schools), so their families have higher than average incomes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is not only toothless, it doesn't even have gums!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ensure genuine equality for all, irrespective of age, gender, race, through a independent legislative statutory body, with clearly defined policies that promote social mobility. Goals, targets, gender based quotas, meaningless sound bites 'women shine', as do windows if polished vigorously enough, all reek of tokenism, undermining the perception of women as senior executives through merit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The first step would be to pass a law that does not allow employment ads to say: "Over 35 years old need not apply" or "Male need not apply" or Female need not apply." Those description are real, just a fabrication. One office worker was kept at a low level position because she was "very skilled at training new people," which resulted in no promotion. She also endured no overtime and no release from work to use the restroom even at lunch. She watched others move forward in the company or leave the company for a higher paid jobs. She moved to the USA, married and American, and now is a Registered Nurse making three times the office worker's salary in Japan, and she only works 3 nights a week. Yes, the Japanese government needs to make changes, but it needs to remember that the women will not report employer abuse because they fear losing their jobs and they know who is in charge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It also only requires that targets be set, not met, and does not address a lack of enforcement of existing requirements for companies to give equal pay for equal work.

That line was about all you needed to write for this article. More useless tatemae.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Any penalties for not doing so?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't think some of you get it. This is "whitewash". What he really wants is to get women working. It's a balloon filled with hot air tied down to something. Oh they'll give women the title of manager. Bottom-feeding at it's finest.

Get your wives out there working. I'm making opportunities. You can be somebody ladies. Now get to work and pay these taxes. It's whitewash ladies. I'm sorry. I'm with you and I'm on your side. If you can make the BIG decisions and perform the duties you deserve the job. Don't believe the hype though.

How about giving a woman your job Abe? You know what that response is going to look like.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan ranks 104 in the world for gender equality because the country has long been run by men like Abe. He only wants women out working in low-paid jobs, mainly to prevent immigration. He is not remotely interested in women challenging men in the workplace or he would pass laws with real teeth. Women are supposed to believe they will have better chances, but there's no enforcement, so it won't happen. And we all know government contracts will continue to go to right-wing companies that support Abe and the LDP, not to forward-thinking liberal companies that try to promote gender equality.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Great, soon we'll have more women managers, instead of OL's, serving ocha.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can you say all talk but no action? Given past experience, this statute will go on the books and collect dust, never to be enforced, just like seat belts, bicycle helmets, tendering processes, etc. Those of you who believe that something will change might want to put a down payment on the Imperial Palace, I hear the current occupants are strapped for cash and looking for a quick sale.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A weak law that requires companies to set a target, whatever target they want, and provides no requirement that they meet that target or even take any action to try and meet that target. It's pretty depressing that some people are reacting as though the evil feminazi police state were marching in and taking away all our freedoms. But what's really depressing is that even before I clicked the link I knew that's what I'd be hearing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The law seems to be taking flak from both sides. This is an indication that it is a compromise that sits right in between as to what various parties would accept. It might be popular with no one but it does reflect the average zeitgeist.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A weak law that requires companies to set a target, whatever target they want, and provides no requirement that they meet that target or even take any action to try and meet that target.

"Abenomics" in a nutshell.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They can set all the targets they want, nothing will change. Japan is ranked 150th in the world for gender equality. Japan will continue to be a geriatric-run patriarchy for centuries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Burning Bush I can see how you feel. Well, take heart. Things have changed everywhere else, but here in Japan, not so much. You'll be fine. Setting goals probably won't change anything anyway. You can still keep women out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What's wrong with setting target, really? The policy took the lower end of international range so it's naturally attainable figure in other countries. No enforcement? When the entire society tells women to stay low and the talent pool is limited, enforcement now is not practical. The mindset and skewed tax system needs to be changed, the supporting social infrastructure needs to updated and training and experience takes time to form a large talent pool.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese companies don't follow labor regulations. Work laws are not enforced. Why will companies care about "targets?" I'm sure managers will enjoy having extra meetings and committees for this. As long as Japanese companies never have to pay out money in lawsuits or penalties they won't care. Money is what they worry about. Now the LDP can get back to what they really care about: SDF policy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

shallots, I agree with your observation in general, so your take is no target is better than meaningless target?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

More employment for women in services, less gruelling working hours and liberal maternity benefits is the need of the hour to improve the lot of women in society.Even if there comes some break in their service due to various domestic and social reasons,their conditions of service be further liberalised and they should be allowed to rejoin their previous employment without any difficulty.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ noriyosan73 at Aug. 29, 2015 - 11:00AM JST "The first step would be to pass a law that does not allow employment ads to say: "Over 35 years old need not apply" or "Male need not apply" or Female need not apply." Those description are real, just a fabrication."

Not sure exactly what your last sentence means. Perhaps it means that you know that actually such laws have already been in existence for quite a while now? Looking through the help wanted fliers that get put in the mailbox or the Hello Work (employment office) listings that can be viewed online, none of them have such blatantly stated restrictions because it is not allowed. But some, especially on the fliers, get around that by using phrases like "many women aged 20 - 50 are working here now," or "men are working here now". And Hello Work listings have a space where companies can lust how many employees they gave including a gender breakdown. I believe such notations should also be prohibited.

"Officials say the government plans to publicly recognize companies that make progress toward their targets and give them preference in winning public contracts."

So rather than punishments such as fines, companies will be given positive encouragement? I suppose that's better than nothing, but I wonder how effective that will be in practice?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has been a country with labor shortage. In USA, some places that has labor shortage can not afford gender, age, English speaking skill, or any discrimination. People get trained in job schools and they get employed. Our area have shortage of workable people from top to bottom. Our County needs 6,000 teachers. Nurses do not mean female. My son; barber is a female. My hairdresser employs male hairdressers. When I go to annual health check, nurses are males in the hospital.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@doraemonchan Good question. What do you think? As the article says,

"...it does not address a lack of enforcement of existing requirements for companies to give equal pay for equal work." and "Provisions for ensuring such equal treatment for contract or part-time workers have been watered down in recent labor reform legislation, says Richard Katz of the Oriental Economist." “The Abe Administration had a chance this year to do something that would be genuinely effective in raising wages: putting in a solid equal pay for equal work provision in the law. Instead, it took the opposite tack and actively defeated the attempt,”

Is it a step in the right direction or a sort of deflection?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

there will be growing pains but this is necessary to improve japan

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"It also only requires that targets be set, not met, and does not address a lack of enforcement of existing requirements for companies to give equal pay for equal work."

And this all you need to know. NOTHING will change but companies will make targets they know full well they will not meet. The tooth sucking old geezers are still in control and nothing will change during their watch.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

shallots, I may sound conservative but I still think it's in the direction. The equal employment opportunity act made 25 years ago was largely symbolic but there has been an undeniable change during this period although it's fair to say Japan is too slow compared to other countries. Corporations may water down the intention of the law themselves but talented people eventually stay away from them as long as there are ones, including foreign companies, that take HR issues seriously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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