Japan cuts female leadership goal in blow to 'womenomics'

Picture expired. Most economists agree that Japan badly needs to increase the role of women in government and the private sector to foster economic growth as the population rapidly ages AFP

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  • 9

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Plus ça change...

  • 16

    some14some

    "Womenomics" an affiliate of "Abenomics (?) is bound to fail.

  • 22

    Yubaru

    Japan has dramatically slashed its goal for raising the rate of women in government leadership positions, officials said, in an apparent admission that its target was too ambitious.

    Too ambitious? Sounds like a bunch of men (without any balls) unwilling to do the right thing!

  • 19

    Disillusioned

    This just shows how backwards and sexist Japan really is. Why do they need to set a target percentage for women in management? It should not matter if they are male or female. If they have the skills, they get the job regardless of gender.

  • 19

    Sensato

    The fact that Abe can't even hit the 30% mark of women in his own cabinet speaks volumes, and the ones he has chosen have largely been a disappointment at best — like Yuko Obuchi who resigned over misappropriation of funds, Midori Matsushima who resigned over a campaign scandal, or Sanae Takaichi who is still in the cabinet but has been involved in a string of scandals.

    If Abe can't hit the mark even though it is presumably one of his chief aims, how is the private sector supposed to do it?

    It's time for Japan to channel Hokkaido University founder William Smith Clark with a new rallying cry, "Girls, be ambitious!" (少女よ大志を抱け)

  • 7

    jerseyboy

    Tokyo in 2003 set a goal of 30%, with current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeatedly saying increasing the number of women in senior jobs both in the private and public sectors was key to his “Abenomics” growth blitz.

    Last Thursday, the government’s gender equality bureau slashed the target ratio to just 7% by 2021, from just 3.5% now.

    Holy cow! Twelve years after setting the goal, and they have only attained a level of about 10% of that goal! Begs the question how bad it would be if tey weren't really trying.

    “It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30%... but the new target reflects the most ambitious figure at this point,” Cabinet Office official Yosuke Konno told AFP.

    And this is the reason it will never be attained, and Japan will just continue to decline -- an out-of-touch male bureaucrat is talking the usual double-speak to rationalize another governent failure. The people of Japan deserve so much better.

  • 6

    kaynide

    Of course it has. The better question is why does nobody care? I mean, I hope more women get in key jobs as most of you likely do, but if the Japanese themselves simply don't care enough/aren't vocal enough then there is nothing to really get upset over right? If they an't going to push hard for change (protests, voting, etc), they sure as $h!t aren't going to listen to some nerdy white guy.

  • 9

    Azuka Yaya

    I think that all the policies Japan have make since many years ago, wont increase Japanese economy, neither will increase birthrate; but have sow conflict between men and women.

  • 11

    Aly Rustom

    Ha Ha! womenomics abenomics... its all a disaster. Thank you abe. You are the worst PM Japan has ever had.

  • 6

    igloobuyer

    In my dealings with Japanese I have the opportunity to discuss this topic. I see almost no motivation among the Japanese populace to increase female participation in leadership roles business and politics - to them they don't understand why it is even necessary. Attitudes are so deeply entrenched even the younger generations tend to think women are too 'hysterical', emotional and simply not strong enough for positions of authority. Little girls and boys growing up in this cultural mind-set have little chance of making a change.

    Women have to demand it rather than it being forced on Japan through gaiyatsu which is what's pretty much happening now.

  • 5

    gogogo

    Change the number while no one is watching, typical Abe BS.... I'm we wasted a bunch of time and money on the 30% number as well.

  • 8

    TrevorPeace

    Call it what it is, people, 'deeply entrenched sexism' and a society where women are second-class citizens. Plain and simple. I can't believe it's anything but Keep It Simple Stupid. And it is. Stupid.

    But you know what? As Forrest Gump said, 'Stupid is as stupid does.' If you expect a change in Japanese society, you'd better do something about it from the grassroots, and that will take another generation, like it or not. Political science and sociology examples from around the world are rife with evidence to prove it. Sadly.

    What bugs me the most about the topic is that I see it every day and can't do anything about it, because I'm not Japanese, just a gaijin with progressive 'western' ideals for humanity. Can you imagine a Japanese leader like Germany's chancellor? What a blast up the ar*e of Japan's male-dominated hierarchy that would be!

    Pipe dream, I know.

  • 4

    clueless

    Bwaa bwaa bwaaaaaaaa…….

    How embarrassing.

  • 1

    shonanbb

    Abe should fire his whole cabinet and appoint all women.

  • -1

    falseflagsteve

    Not many countries have 30% women in senior positions, so whats the problem? Its more likely women dont want these jobs in the same numbrs as men. There is a rason why more women are nurses and mor men truck drivers. It coms down to nature and human choices.

  • -1

    crustpunker

    “It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30%... but the new target reflects the most ambitious figure at this point,” Cabinet Office official Yosuke Konno told AFP.

    What?

    "It doesn't mean that we gave up the goal of 30%...but actually we did.

    Japan's gender equality bureau staffed most likely mainly by...... Men of course?

    UBER LOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!

    Stay classy, Abenomics.

    Japan, you do your women an unforgiveable disservice.

    But, then again, most definetly not all but MOST seem more or less complacent with it too.....

  • 1

    Pukey2

    It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30%... but the new target reflects the most ambitious figure at this point,

    Putting a positive spin on things, might I add.

  • 3

    sf2k

    Back to the 50's! Quick!

    Little to they realize that it's not even difficult to do. As we're finding out in Canada where a new government put in 50/50 men women in cabinet, that everyone's qualifications are stellar which is all you need.

  • 2

    klausdorth

    And another "Abe-arrow" went down the drain.

  • 4

    marcelito

    *“It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30%... *

    Thats exactly what it means...how can he even say that with a straight face? Oh yeah,,,a politician,

  • 0

    sf2k

    can we expect female layoffs in companies to follow suit?

  • -1

    sighclops

    So... their goal, set out in 2003 & with a new target of 2021, is 7%. 18 years to hit a ridiculously low number. As others have mentioned on here, it will be a generation or seven before we see any real change in Japan. Too old, too misogynous & too entrenched with 1950s ideals. Out of touch with the modern world.

  • 5

    Mike Critchley

    @sf2K - I was just going to write about that.

    For those who haven't heard, when newly-minted PM Justin Trudeau was asked why he immediately instated a gender-balanced cabinet, his reply was to just look at the reporter like she had just asked the stupidest question ever and replied, "Because it's 2015." https://youtu.be/cqhMse--cLw

    While I applaud this, and think the world should all be like this, getting there in Japan won't be easy. I worked a lot of years at a university in Japan, and I rarely met female students who were aiming at careers beyond getting any job that would lead to marriage and kids ASAP.

    Setting a target like 30% in this environment leads to the same danger as the 2% inflation target of Abenomics. Abenomics is a disaster not because of the 2% target, but because of how Abe and his stooges are trying to achieve it. They are trying to hit that 2% by devaluing the yen to make things more expensive (bad inflation), instead of creating more value in the consumer market through innovation, deregulation, higher minimum wages, and supporting and protecting smaller businesses that have something of value to the market place, making people WANT to buy stuff because they have more money, driving up prices (good inflation).

    This 30% target has also failed -- as will the 7% target also likely fail -- because Abe's concern has been to just promote up ANY woman on the basis that she has two X chromosomes, rather than choosing the best and brightest. Why? Because the best and brightest aren't there yet. As long as Japan continues to be dominated by boorish, misogynist, aging old idiot men who resist change at all cost, there simply will be too few women wanting to strive for those positions. Screw that! Fire all the old dudes. Get more young people of any gender who have intelligence, drive to improve Japan and the life of Japanese people, and the personality to lead into the work force and political arena. Do that, and I'd bet as many women as men will start to take a career in business and politics more seriously. Then we can start talking numbers!

  • 4

    Mocheake

    ''Womenomics" was just typical Japan: throw a bunch of nice-sounding words or catchphrases at people ( omotenashi, Abenomics, kizuna, etc.) that are just for show. This reduction should not have caught anyone by surprise.

  • 1

    Laguna

    “It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30%... but the new target reflects the most ambitious figure at this point”

    I'd like to see the original Japanese if anyone has it to discern whether the translation was at fault or whether the doublespeak was intended.

  • 1

    hydropower

    I don't fault the government for failing to attain the goal.

    Bur I fault them severely for setting such an obviously impossible goal in the first place!

  • -1

    Daniel Neagari

    Well... the original goal was too optimistic and unrealistic. Considering the situation (cultural and laboral) here in Japan, for women to have a greater participation it will take a lot of time and changes need to be done in several levels.

    I am not against that women have a greater participation in fact I support it and I have been member of several panels and seminars regarding that matter. But it is a hard and it is a thing that have to be done with patience and time.

    Reducing the goal is in fact a realistic move in this matter and should be set as a indicator of how difficult this objective is to be implemented

  • 0

    Miguel Lozano

    I think that for Japanese, to hear for example that goverment want to increase the rate of women in government leadership positions is as wrong as for many of the commentators here would be to hear that the government want to decrease the rate of women in government leadership positions. I think the point is that each people must live with their own ideals, without be disturbed for alien ideals that come from alien cultures. If japanese want to live like 20 or 50 years ago, they should have the right to live in that way, no matter what government or foreigners think about it.

  • 3

    turbotsat

    You're trying to recruit personnel from a population that society holds to be optional job-holders, in competition with a population that society holds to be mandatory job-holders.

    You can pump water uphill, but trying to push it uphill with your hands is a fool's game.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    “It doesn’t mean that we gave up the goal of 30%..."

    Ummm... yes it does.

    Daniel Neagari: "Well... the original goal was too optimistic and unrealistic."

    Then you don't promise it and go around the world, as Abe did, on International Women's Day, and praising yourself for how you will change things. Plain and simple, Daniel. The only thing that is unrealistic is believing Japan will live up to its promises. The only reason it's "difficult", as you say, is that Japan is sexist and completely unwilling to change. Your comment reflects that and tries to justify it instead of simply addressing it.

  • 0

    fxgai

    When Tokyo sets goals, it doesn't mean anything, even if they give themselves more than a decade to achieve them. The government and bureaucracy would appear to be rather useless at much other than talk.

    "National stadium in time for 2019 Rugby World Cup" was another disappointment.

    Primary balance surplus by 2020, anyone?

  • 5

    GW

    Lots of good points, pretty bad when the posters on JT can see things so much clearer than the govt can, but then that's not a hard level to beat now is it sadly!

    Lets face facts, the way society is at present NO ONE should be surprised by the low low level of women in companies as you rise past 1yr jobs.

    There simply is NOT the support in place to support families & women in this country in order for this to have a chance of working & women KNOW this, so no wonder they only want to work for a couple years then get married, for the vast majority that is the MAIN option in their lives.....

    Japan HAS to change if it wants more women to keep working outside the home, but I don't think J-society at present wants that.

    As I man , if I was a Japanese women there no way in hell I would want to work as a salary drone, hell even as a man as sure as hell don't want to be a salary drone.

    It sucks for both sexes in Japan, but if Japanese don't want change, it wont change & even if they do it will take decades that Japan no longer really has I think.

    Its going to take a miracle to put this country back on track unfortunately

  • 1

    fxgai

    I heard a story first hand from a young lady who I know to be very bright and she graduated from a good university, landing herself a job with a "good" employer in the region where she lives - a second tier bank, but one that is big enough to have overseas operations.

    She was apparently looking forward to the opportunity for an overseas assignment, only to be disappointed when she was told by management that she wouldn't be going. Given the topic of this story, you can all easily guess the reason.

    I'm not sure the government can actually do much to change culture across the entire country, but it's a sad indictment on the country itself that it is deliberately under-utilizing it's bright young workers who happen to lack penises.

  • 2

    anotherexpat

    Finally, a true example of "Japanese culture is unique. Foreigners can't understand it."

  • 0

    Kevin Davis

    Its a social problem that begins with the way men treat women in this country and the sad thing is it seems women don't have a really vocal figure to speak out about it he'll just watch television here all day all night how many female mc are there.... None that I know of every time you see the females opening the doors for men on television or being served food first and it's the norm how bout women be shown on television in a more strong and independent way and it would do wonders for young adult women and children as well

  • 1

    Miguel Lozano

    @fxgai What you are talking about is maybe because Japanese society think that female are necessary to perform other things that are very important for society too. Since my point of view for example, the better culture would be the one where all the womens effort, patient and selfsacrifice, that many people expect women invest in the job market, were invested instead in family, to make it stronger and happier, as women would be encorauged to sacrifice much more in benefit of their husband and family, because their home is the only place where they are expected to do it, while men have to sacrifice themselves anyway in their jobs.

  • 2

    SenseNotSoCommon

    A clear message to talented women:

    Emigrate!

    Your country only wants your womb.

  • -1

    Reckless

    this begs the question why he even threw out the 30% figure in the first place...

  • 0

    tapetptape

    It is rarely noted that is is not so much the lack of daycare facilities, but the lack of teachers - usually female - to work in the daycare business. Daycare tends to employ mainly women (good, right?) and usually younger women due to the physical demands of a long day with very few breaks or holidays. However, a major flaw with PM Abe's plan to increase the number of daycare centers is that women themselves are less interested in this type of work and are in fact quitting due to horrendously low wages combined with a very high responsibility and both the mental and physical strain that comes with it. Nursing is perhaps another comparison, however the wages in nursing are slightly better. Abe can fund and build all the additional daycares he wants, but I can tell you that he will have a very hard time staffing the new ones when he is already under the challenge of staffing current ones.

  • 0

    GW

    that many people expect women invest in the job market, were invested instead in family, to make it stronger and happier, as women would be encorauged to sacrifice much more in benefit of their husband and family, because their home is the only place where they are expected to do it, while men have to sacrifice themselves anyway in their jobs.

    Thing is Miguel the 50s & 60s are LONG past, living in Japan I sometimes feel like I have gone back in a time machine

  • 0

    Miguel Lozano

    @GW Its only that I think that the changes are not necessary for better and that the future neither is necessary better than the past. It is perfectly posible that changes can lead to worse or less convenient or less pleasant realities. In deed the changes we are taking about were planned and promoted since the beginning by the power for the sake of capitalism, at the expense of family.

  • 0

    bjohnson23

    12 yrs in the making a cheap excuse a lack of childcare facilities, poor career support and deeply entrenched sexism are blamed for keeping women at home, which is far from the truth when you have 0 companies yes not a single Japanese company applied for a subsidy program aimed at promoting more women to senior jobs, now that is the truth. In Japan women are to stay home, cook clean and make babies. Japanese women understand this since they are taught this from early childhood. Listen to all that high fake pitch women make when talking in public. You hear the department store girls with high pitch voices, the moms talking to their kids. sexy is what it is...what I need to do is produce more babies so that the future of Japan is secure in labor force and future pension tax payers.

  • -1

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    The government said in September that not a single Japanese company applied for a subsidy program aimed at promoting more women to senior jobs.

    Oh my god, we can't even bribe Japanese companies to do the right thing...

  • -1

    Guy_Jean_Dailleult

    However, a lack of childcare facilities, poor career support and deeply entrenched sexism are blamed for keeping women at home.

    The rate of female participation in the workforce in Japan is now higher than in the USA. I guess that means the USA has even fewer childcare facilities, poorer career support and even more deeply entrenched sexism. That USA place must be a real "basketcase" then.

  • 1

    Ian Robertson

    Japan's most serious problem is its unwillingness to drop the status quo in almost every area of life, and to allow the right wing old guys with no vision to continue running things the way they always have. It's not like their intrangience is doing the country much good. So sad for a country that was once on of the world's leaders in so many areas.

  • 1

    PSandoz

    Oooooo! What a surprise! Abe backtracking.

  • 1

    Dr. Jimmy

    Thank heavens there is still some small bastion of sanity in the developed world. Well done Japan -- the mad rush to feminize education, business, government and the bureaucracy has been the overwhelming factor in the possibly fatal weakening of Western culture over the past generation. Omedetou to Japan for having the sense to step back from the precipice.

  • 0

    Jonorth

    ... So when it gets difficult, it's the good old "shou ga nai" and make it easier? They most have known it would be hard from the beginning, but that doesn't mean you just quit, which I honestly think this is. It's embarrassing for Abe and everyone in top-positions who haven't be willing to really push for change.

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    I have a theory as to why Japan has such a male dominated society. - Japanese men are afraid of Japanese women! I teach in a private high school and a private college. I've just finished checking mid-term tests for both (two term school years). In all my classes (14 in total a junior and senior high and junior college) the women average in the high 80's, whereas, the men average in the mid-60's. I conferred with other subjects' teachers at the high school and they had similar results. It's very clear that,mthe women have all the brains in this country and the men are just brain-lazy! I have no doubt that, if this country was run by the women it would be a more powerful and prosperous country. However, the major obstacle would be teaching Japanese men how to change a daiper, use a washing machine and to cook something besides a TV dinner! I have many Japanese friends and they are 99% women. Not because I am a playboy, but because it is the only way I can get an intelligent conversation. Japanese guys only talk about their jobs, themselves or bloody AKB! It's very east to understand why so many Jaoanese women stay single and why the birth rate is dropping. Most Japanese men are boring and uneducated morons!

  • 0

    sf2k

    Come to Canada. Many have made their own futures here. Really amazing women, I don't know why their society gave up on them. "just because". Doesn't have to be my country. Maybe try Finland as they are about to embark on a guaranteed income. So many countries out there that would be happy to support families while also having a career.

    The world is available to all, and countries need not limit people and their goals. You can choose your life

  • 0

    Victor Mihayloff

    Most comments here are typical Wrstern Liberal Feminists Did it acure to you that Men and women make different choses in life . Yes it is true that Japan is very Male dominated but also feminism in the west is mostly men - hating garbage too . Do you want you Govertmenet to become a Politicaly correct sh. hole .?? Do you ? Jobs applications should be based on Mariet . No gender politics . Are they ambitious effort women out there ? Of course . Do they want to work 7 days a week . Most women don't !! It's a fact . Most women are happy being a mom and wife and a lady . Just go to any western country and see all the divorced miserable single mothers and their kids mostly in juvenile jail . Millions in USA , millions ... Do you really want that in Japan ? Don't !!

  • 0

    Chris Whitmore

    Most comments here are typical Wrstern Liberal Feminists Did it acure to you that Men and women make different choses in life . Yes it is true that Japan is very Male dominated but also feminism in the west is mostly men - hating garbage too . Do you want you Govertmenet to become a Politicaly correct sh. hole .?? Do you ? Jobs applications should be based on Mariet . No gender politics . Are they ambitious effort women out there ? Of course . Do they want to work 7 days a week . Most women don't !! It's a fact . Most women are happy being a mom and wife and a lady . Just go to any western country and see all the divorced miserable single mothers and their kids mostly in juvenile jail . Millions in USA , millions ... Do you really want that in Japan ? Don't !!

    What on earth are you even trying to say?

    I am a male, and I am a feminist, nobody is saying that all jobs should be 50:50 perfect ratio of men and women, it just isn't possible, but it should be the ideal.

    Two people, doing the same job, should be paid the same regardless of their gender.

    You ask "do women want to work 7 days a week?", hell, I am a man and I don't want to work 7 days a week, why the hell should anyone have to work 7 days a week? That is ridiculous.

  • 0

    DarkKnghtZ

    Two people, doing the same job, in all cases which feminists regularly chase, ARE paid the same, and in many cases, MORE to the woman. No credible economist takes that pay gap garbage seriously. Its all about CHOICE. If you choose (and a eating out of the dumpster at McDonalds level of stupid) to get a Gender Studies degree, then you cant expect to have the same OPPORTUNITY that someone with a degree in Mathematics or engineering has. Equal opportunity does not mean Equal outcome. If they want women in politics here, they have to make it appealing to women, or they wont CHOOSE it. How do they do this? Well I'm not sure, I'm not a politician.

    And since you have volunteered that you are a male feminist, whatever that means, maybe you can enlighten us on why you all aren't fighting for equal representation in Roofing, Plumbing, Coal mining, Construction, or Fishers? I bet I can guess, but Id rather get an answer from someone who claims to be fighting for equality.

  • 0

    turbotsat

    Disillusioned: In all my classes (14 in total a junior and senior high and junior college) the women average in the high 80's, whereas, the men average in the mid-60's.

    Do different rates of video gameplay make a difference here? Like, difficulty in maintaining grades as a priority?

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    @Disillusioned Hear hear!

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