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For our last webinar before the summer Japan Society Chairman, Bill Emmott, will be considering gender equality in Japan and the UK, in discussion with leading members of the 30% Club, Yoriko Goto and Heather McGregor.
Japan stands far behind Europe and America in terms of gender equality, ranking 121st out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, and with only 13% of managerial roles occupied by women in 2019, according to the OECD. But this also reflects gender inequality in tertiary education in the 1970s and 1980s, which limited the pool of potential female leaders in today’s leadership generation. This has changed dramatically, with now 50% of 18-year-old girls now entering four-year university courses compared with less than 15% in 1990. The pipeline of potential female managers in younger generations is becoming much larger. How can this potential be turned into future reality, in corporate and other leadership roles?
Launched in Britain in 2010, the 30% Club exists to promote increased diversity on boards and in senior management all around the world. A Japan Chapter was founded in May 2019. In 2010 just 12.5% of board directorships in FT-SE 100 companies were held by women; a decade later, 34.6% are. In 2019 in Japan just 10% of TOPIX 100 board seats were held by women. Can Japan learn from the UK in order to follow the same trajectory? Can both countries do better at increasing the number of women in leadership terms more widely? What benefits are there for companies in doing so? Will the pandemic prove to be a setback for this progress given unequal shares in family responsibilities or can it be made into an accelerator?
Yoriko Goto is Chair of the Deloitte Tohmatsu Group (Deloitte Japan) and Vice Chair of the 30% Club Japan. She has more than 30 years of public accounting experience, including 9 years in New York, focusing on the accounting and auditing of Japanese and multinational financial institutions. She was appointed Japan Leader of the Global Financial Services Industry Practice of Deloitte in 2006, and is the first female appointed to Deloitte Japan’s Board of Directors. From 2012 to 2015 she attended the World Economic Forum as one of the five, and the only female, delegate from Deloitte.
Professor Heather McGregor is the Executive Dean of the Edinburgh Business School, the School of Business of Heriot Watt University, and non-executive chairman of the executive search firm Taylor Bennett. She is the founder of the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which works to promote diversity in the communications industry, and a founding member of the 30% Club, which campaigns to raise the representation of women at senior levels within the U.K.’s publicly listed companies. For over 15 years, including two in Tokyo (1999-2000) she authored the Mrs Moneypenny column for the Financial Times.
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