Despite efforts in recent years to encourage more parity between men and women, the gender gap in Japan is widening. As the world recognizes International Women's Day 2020 on Sunday, it's an important moment to take stock of what's holding the country back and how it can move forward to gender equality in the decade ahead.

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2020, Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries in terms of gender parity, a decline of 11 places compared to its ranking a year before, when it ranked 110th, and a decline of 41 places compared to the 2006 report, the first year of the index, when it ranked 80th. Based on the current ranking, Japan's gender gap is the largest among advanced economies.

The government has attempted to increase gender parity in recent years. In 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to create "a Japan in which women can shine," outlining a "womenomics strategy" where 30 percent of leadership positions in society would be filled by women in 2020.