Japan needs more women in key posts if it is to survive its current economic woes and to prove to voters that the ruling party has indeed changed and improved. This was the statement made by former defense minister Yuriko Koike who was appointed as the head of public relations of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
In October last year, the International Monetary Fund called on Japan to improve the situation of working women in order to rescue its failing economy. As of 2009, only 9 percent of Japan’s managers are women, compared to 43 percent in the United States. The labor culture in the country hinders increasing the number of women in the workforce, from hiring practices that limit women to non-career jobs, to tax incentives that favors housewives, to social pressure and lack of childcare facilities that force many new mothers to retire. Koike, Japan’s first female defense minister, says that mobilizing women would create a breakthrough in the economy.
But even LDP’s top female members disagree on how to best accomplish this, specifically regarding a mandatory target to boost the number of women in managerial posts to 30 percent by 2020. LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi says that a legally binding quota would lead to a “reverse discrimination”. On the other hand, LDP General Council chair Seiko Noda believes that it is a necessary step to get the ball rolling. Koike agrees with Noda, saying that she would have agreed with Takaichi ten years ago but has now realized that nothing will change if the party does not impose this measure.
[ via CNBC ]
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