Japan to launch women’s confab modeled after Davos forum

Kyodo

Japan will launch an international conference of female leaders in September modeled after the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to push forward its initiative to get more women into the workforce.

The government is scheduled to host a women’s symposium in Tokyo on Sept. 12 to 14 and plans to make it an annual event like the Davos forum, which brings together business and political leaders from around the world, officials said.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the first female leader of the Washington-based organization, has been invited to deliver a keynote speech.

The conference is part of the growth strategy approved in June by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has set a goal of raising the proportion of women in leading positions to at least 30 percent by 2020.

Abe also aims to raise the proportion of women recruited as public servants in fiscal 2015 to 30 percent or more.

To oblige companies and local governments to set voluntary goals for increasing female leaders, the Abe administration aims to submit bills to the Diet this fall, the officials said.

At the moment, Abe’s Cabinet only has two female members. But there has been talk that more may be added in a possible reshuffle in September.

Abe’s drive for increased female participation in the workforce also appears to be aimed at regaining some ground lost in Sunday’s gubernatorial election in Shiga Prefecture.

A candidate backed by his Liberal Democratic Party was defeated by a former lawmaker of the Democratic Party of Japan. Nationwide local elections are scheduled for next spring.