Business

30 Percent Club launches Japan chapter to raise women's presence on company boards

JIJI

The 30 Percent Club, founded in Britain, recently launched a Japanese chapter after making a major contribution to boosting female representation on company boards in 13 economies.

The local version aims to achieve 10 percent female representation on the boards of 100 major companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 2020 and 30 percent representation by 2030.

As of April 23, the chapter had 30 members, including such corporate leaders as Shiseido Co. President Masahiko Uotani, Daiwa Securities Group Inc. Chairman Takashi Hibino and Hitachi Ltd. President Toshiaki Higashihara.

Companies that have members of the chapter on their staffs will set their own targets and deadlines to increase women on their boards.

The chapter’s members include executives of institutional investors. Their companies will encourage businesses they invest in to take steps to shore up female representation on their boards.

Furthermore, the chapter will run diverse campaigns in cooperation with government agencies, media organizations and universities.

It is a widely held view that gender diversity in senior leadership is a plus to business. Companies that have many female executives tend to be more profitable than those that do not. A greater female presence is also believed to help strengthen corporate governance, promote innovation and improve brand images.

The 30 Percent Club Japan views low female representation on company boards “not as a human rights issue but as a business problem that must be addressed for sustainable growth,” said Michiko Tadamatsu, a senior manager at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC who played a leading role in establishing the chapter.

In Japan, women accounted for 5.3 percent of all executives at major companies in 2017, against 27.2 percent in Britain and 21.7 percent in the United States, according to OECD data.