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Do Female Employees in Japan Face Gender-Based Inequality at Work?

March 14, 2016

Coinciding with International Women’s Day (IWD) a new survey reveals that far fewer men than women believe that female employees face any gender-based inequality at work in Japan.

The survey conducted in 30 countries by recruiting experts Hays generated 435 responses from men and women in Japan who were asked about gender equality in their workplace.

It found that 33 per cent of men compared to 50 per cent of women think that equally capable male and female colleagues are not paid or rewarded in an equal manner.

The survey also found that 40 per cent of men compared to 53 per cent of women do not believe that the same career opportunities are available to all, regardless of gender.

93 per cent of all respondents in Japan, both men and women, said the most senior person within their organisation is male and 86 per cent said that their line manager is also male.

Another finding is that respondents said the top 3 most effective measures in terms of education across the organization is to change workplace culture (26 per cent), highlighting female role models (24 per cent) and flexible working practices (22 per cent).

“We have a lot to celebrate here in Japan on International Women’s Day, but many Japanese would argue that progress towards workplace gender equality is hindered by the lack of people, more often than not men, who fail to see any problem,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Japan.

“Given that most people in senior leadership roles are still men, it’s difficult to see how gender parity can be accelerated when many of those in positions of influence do not see any inequality to begin with.”

See: 73% Employers in Japan Consider Recruiting Overseas Hires

It’s also important that employers embrace the reality that such disparities may exist among their employees.

“One of the best practical measures to alleviate such imbalance in the workplace is to put performance-related policies in place. This ensures that people make their progression based on their performance alone. It also helps build a culture of meritocracy and helps to remove unconscious bias from the decision making process.”

“Businesses need to make sure they have clear initiatives and development plans in place to retain and promote their top female talent. Employers also need to recognise the benefits of a gender diverse workforce, including a stronger talent pipeline, higher productivity and ultimately a more successful business. Clearly, addressing gender equality needs to be more than just a box-ticking exercise” said Alistair Cox, CEO of Hays plc.

The 2016 IWD theme is ‘pledging for parity’. This year IWD calls for everyone, both men and women, “to pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly”.

What steps can we take? Employers should encourage female ambition, focus on employee self-promotion, implement and communicate gender diversity policies.

Also read: Japan’s Top 10 Talent Trends for 2016

Image credit: nikkeivoice.ca

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