Toyo Keizai has taken a look at which Japanese companies have most improved the percentage of women in management over the past ten years. Unsurprisingly, those companies who had the best existing pipeline of women – in life insurance and retail – have been able to make the biggest strides.
Life insurance companies in Japan traditionally employed women as salespeople, who were allowed into offices and left fliers, business cards and sweets on your desk if you were absent. Meiji Yasuda, Asahi, Daiichi, and Nippon have all increased the proportion of women in management from only a few percent in 2011 to between a fifth and a third of managers in 2021.
Other financial services companies such as Resona, the smaller regional banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, Mitsubishi HC Capital, Daiwa Securities, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and MUFG are also in the 50 most improved. Non-financial companies in the top 50 include Astellas Pharmaceuticals, Sony and Bandai Namco.
Appearing in the bottom of the top 50 only requires a 10% improvement over the past 10 years, and 20 out of the top 50 most improved companies still have only 10-20% of managers who are female. The pipeline contains only a trickle for many.
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