More women building careers at the Bank of Japan after rollout of work-life measures

JIJI

The number of women working at the Bank of Japan is on the rise after a series of measures were implemented to make it easier for employees to balance work with family life.

The proportion of women in the organization has risen among BOJ officials in managerial posts and newly hired workers, and earlier this month, Tokiko Shimizu, 53, became the Nagoya office’s first female branch manager.

A record four women attended a branch manager meeting at the BOJ head office in Tokyo on Thursday, including Nagoya branch head Shimizu and Sapporo branch manager Sho Kotaka, 55.

Shimizu joined the BOJ in 1987. Among female employees, she has been a front-runner, ascending the corporate ladder quickly. Until recently, she worked in London and was responsible for covering Europe.

“It is important to create an environment in which women can work to the (fullest) in accordance with their skills,” Shimizu told a news conference after the branch manager meeting.

The banking industry, including the BOJ, tends to have a conservative culture.

The central bank has one woman on its nine-member policy board, which is mainly made up of outside experts, while the posts of executive directors have been monopolized by male employees.

Since around 2005, the BOJ has taken measures to make it easier for child-rearing employees to balance work and family life, such as the introduction of a flextime system.

The percentage of women in managerial posts increased to 9.6 percent in 2017, near the BOJ’s target of 10 percent for 2018, from 6.3 percent in 2013.

The share of female recruits for career-track roles and some other positions rose to 34.1 percent in fiscal 2016.