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Toshiba looks to add female execs

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

Toshiba Corp. plans to add about 100 more women to its managerial ranks by the end of fiscal 2015 to bolster its global competitiveness by tapping more talented females.

The Tokyo-based electronics giant plans to have women hold 5 percent of its managerial positions, compared with 3.7 percent now, by the end of fiscal 2015, a spokeswoman said Monday.

This will raise the number of female executives at Toshiba to around 370 from 270 at present.

Toshiba hopes the move will help diversify its workforce to survive intensifying global competition. Although Japan is notorious for lagging behind in gender equality at the workplace, Toshiba hopes its latest moves will nudge it closer to the international standard. It has also increased the number of foreign employees in recent years, the spokeswoman said.

Similar moves have been seen at other large firms, including Nissan Motor Co., which plans for females to account for 10 percent of its executives by the end of fiscal 2016, compared with the current 6.7 percent.

Those target figures, however, are still low compared with other states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Fewer than 5 percent of the board members at listed firms in Japan are women, ranking it among the lowest in female representation, an OECD report said.

The gender inequality is worse in large firms. A 2011 health ministry survey found, female managers accounted for only 2.9 percent of the executives in Toshiba-class firms, which have more than 5,000 workers.

Females make up 6.5 percent of the management at companies employing between 100 and 299 workers, 12.1 percent at businesses with 30 to 99 workers and 16.9 percent in corporations with only 10 to 29 employees.

  • Mints

    Well, at least it’s a start.

    Toshiba’s fiscal year ends in March of the following year, meaning that fiscal 2015 will end March 31, 2016. So, they are giving themselves three years to hire these 100 female executives.

    Hiring at this rate of 33 women per year, Toshiba would need around 14 years to achieve 10 percent of female executives, about a decade behind Nissan’s fiscal 2016 target.

    Incidentally, Toshiba’s slogan is “Leading Innovation.”