One could be forgiven as a woman for thinking what on earth does one have to do to break through the glass ceiling with respect to top positions in Japan.
Japan has seen radical increases in women in the workplace, with higher levels than even the UK and USA. The woman credited with coining the phrase “womenomics’’ over 20 years ago – a critical concept and pillar in Japan’s economic reforms by harnessing the power of women – has however said that there is still a glass ceiling with respect to women occupying the very top senior leadership positions in Japan.
Before the COVID pandemic, over 70% of Japanese women were working, almost ten percent higher than in the EU. The percentage of female leaders and managers is still only at about 15% however, with female board members being in single digits, less than half of the levels seen elsewhere in the develop world.
A Nikkei report in 2020 reported that less than 8% of management positions in corporate Japan are occupied by women, significantly less than the target of 30% by 2020 previously set.
Given the success of the numbers of women in work in Japan, the failure to see women fill senior leadership roles is disappointing. Hopefully, we will see this situation begin to be rectified in the short to medium term.