Japan adds female executives but they take only 8% of board seats

Nikkei -- Mar 09
Japanese businesses have made progress in naming more women who have risen through the ranks to executive positions, but female participation in management still falls far short of levels in Western nations.

The number of female executives in Japan rose nearly 60% over two years through mid-2020, according to a survey by Nikkei Inc. and corporate governance advisory firm ProNed conducted to mark International Women's Day on Monday.

The survey targeted 320 companies on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange that generate annual revenue of 500 billion yen ($4.61 billion) or more, with responses received from 85 by early March. Though prior surveys have covered female board members and auditors, this is the first that includes executive officers.

There were 170 women serving as directors, corporate officers, executive officers or auditors as of July 1, up 57% from 108 two years prior. Executive officers accounted for the largest group at 91, followed by directors, which numbered 40. The survey shows that more women are directly involved in management.

About 17% of the female executive officers previously worked in human resources or general affairs, followed by 16% in sales or marketing. Roughly 70% of these managers were in their 50s, a sign that women who were hired out of college after an equal opportunity law took effect in 1986 have gained experience and track records.

- Nikkei