How to promote more female leaders in Japan


How to promote more female leaders in Japan


Inequality between men and women and the underutilization of women's labour remain major problems in Japanese society. In terms of the percentage of women in managerial roles, Japan came in at number 139 out of 156 nations. Women make up only 9.9% of legislators and 6.6% of corporate department heads, according to a 2020 government report from Japan.

The Japanese workforce would grow by 5.8 million workers and the GDP would increase by 10% if the gender gap were to be closed. However, despite the government's efforts, progress on gender equality in the workforce has been sluggish.

The "Womenomics" strategy of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made several attempts to empower women's economic progress. The "Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace," which went into effect in 2016, is one significant initiative to promote women's leadership development. The Act mandates that all governmental organisations and for-profit businesses with more than 300 employees produce action plans for the advancement of women in leadership roles and make public updates on these plans' statuses.

However, this policy's objective of having 30% of managerial positions held by women by 2020 was not met. This is due to institutional, structural, and societal factors. Lack of childcare, underuse of paternity leave, labour-intensive employment, and companies' refusal to hire and promote women into leadership positions are a few examples of constraints.

Women's lack of a leadership identity and leadership beliefs is one issue that needs more attention right now. The degree to which a person self-identifies as a leader is seen from a sociological perspective as changeable and co-constructed within the social context. Women continuously modify who they are to fit into their group's social identity. Women are more prone to think of themselves as future leaders when they observe other women leading.

It is evident that women find it challenging to develop their leadership identities since they have less access to female leadership networks and role models, as well as few opportunities to obtain experience through leadership responsibilities. Women can start to see themselves as leaders and build confidence in leadership positions through socially positive activities.

It is essential for women to develop their own ideas as they create their own leadership identities. In today's volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment, increased self-awareness of one's own leadership ideals is crucial, particularly in crisis situations where leaders must make difficult decisions. To maximise their talent and leadership potential, female leaders must grasp who they are and what their underlying principles are.

Women may find it challenging to push themselves to advance in their careers if they aren't given the chance to establish their leadership identities and beliefs. When offered leadership positions, Japanese women are less motivated to accept them than their male colleagues, exacerbating the gender leadership gap. Either women don't feel prepared to take on extra duties or think they can't be effective leaders.

Although there is a huge pool of talented women in Japan, the culture has prevented them from developing their leadership skills. It's crucial for Japanese women to have learning chances that can broaden their thinking and offer meaningful contact with others if they are to successfully develop their own ideas and build their leadership identities. Through activities including mentorship, coaching, social networking, and value development, several effective programmes assist women in developing their leadership identities.

Finding friends and role models is crucial for women in the male-dominated leadership culture of Japan. They should also explore who they are by participating in women's programmes where they can hear about the struggles and triumphs of others.

They can develop their confidence and drive to achieve leadership with this support. More women need to have access to these activities, both inside and outside of their organisations. This will provide women with the opportunity to build on the legal initiatives taken by the Japanese government and promote conditions where women may flourish and become leaders.

To assist women's leadership growth in a way that will impact Japan's future, Japanese society has to invest more in them.

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