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Womenomics in action

By Yoriko Goto - January 20, 2014

Goto_yoriko_300x200This year I am attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos as a representative from Deloitte Japan and as a Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) board member. Even as a third-time delegate, I am always thrilled to meet great people and be exposed to new perspectives and innovative ideas.

Last year, I emphasized the importance of including women in the boardroom for business development and innovation. In fact, DTTL has increased the percentage of female board members from 8 percent to 25 percent this year. It is a great honor for me to have been appointed as one of the DTTL board of directors in addition to a board member role in Deloitte Japan.

There have been positive movements for gender parity initiative in Japan as well.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed the female labor force participation as a core driver for his growth strategies (a part of “Abenomics”). The Japanese government has set a target for the percentage of women in managerial positions to 30 percent by 2020.  Currently, the percentage is a little less than 10 percent. Japanese companies and organizations, therefore, are encouraged to speed up the process. In connection with the announcement of the target, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Tokyo Stock Exchange have implemented “Nadeshiko Brand” for the listed companies that demonstrate outstanding efforts to promote women’s career success. Out of approximately 1,700 companies, 17 have so far been granted the brand. The Nadeshiko Branding is expected to appeal investors and drive positive business impacts.

Further, as one of the measures for increasing female labor force participation, Prime Minister Abe asked listed companies to have at least one female executive. Echoing the Abenomics measure, some Japanese companies have appointed a female executive from their internal resources, rather than hiring outside board members for governance purposes. This is encouraging in that women seem to be demonstrating their abilities and gradually advancing their careers to the management level after years of persistently male dominated environments. The lack of eligible candidates in the pipeline has been one of the reasons for the gender gap in Japanese executives.  Regardless of the fact that we do have competent female executive candidates in the pipeline, the line needs to be much more strategic. According to the Forum’s 2013 Gender Parity Report, Japan’s gender parity ranking further dropped four places to 105 out of 135 countries. I hope to see a better ranking in 2014 supported by further innovative Womenomics measures. More importantly, I hope that Womenomics will lead Japan back to a better situation in the global economy.


Dttl_yorikogoto_56x56Yoriko Goto currently serves as Managing Partner, Financial Services Industry, and Member of the Board for Deloitte Japan. She has 30+ years' experience in professional services, focusing on financial institutions. In addition to her member firm role, Yoriko is also a member of the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) Board for Global Financial Services Industry.

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