|Naomi Koshi Wants to Make Sure Women Aren’t Left Behind
naomi Koshi remembers handing out flyers outside a train station during her second mayoral campaign in 2016, when an older man walked up to her and said, “You are too strong for a woman,” and kicked her. She was shocked; she’d already spent four years serving as Japan’s youngest female mayor—one of just a few female mayors in the country—and ultimately won her second term. “I felt that sometimes people hate strong women,” she says, reflecting on a cultural dynamic that, by holding back half of its population, also holds back Japan. Koshi was determined to help change it.To get more news about 黄片免费,91av在线, you can visit our official website.
Japan is one of the world’s richest, most advanced societies; it’s the third largest economy, beating out countries with much larger populations. But its own population is shrinking, and the nation’s economic growth has been stagnant. Household income is down. Fumio Kishida, who became Prime Minister in late 2021, has promised to usher in an era of “new capitalism” to drive faster economic growth and higher wages, but it’s not yet clear how he will address what Koshi believes to be the linchpin of the problem: Japanese women are woefully underrepresented in business.
Koshi, a lawyer who now sits on the boards of two companies, has seen this firsthand. Only 8% of company board members are women, and they hold less than 15% of managerial roles—one of the lowest rates among the world’s large economies. (In the U.S., about 30% of S&P 500 board directors are women.) The country is ranked 120 of 156 nations in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index. An April 2019 Goldman Sachs report found that closing the gender employment gap could lift Japan’s GDP by 10%, and if women’s working hours rose to the average of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the boost might be as big as 15%. Now Japan’s main business association, the Keidanren, has called for 30% of board members and corporate executives to be women by 2030.
“One of the reasons Japanese companies, the Japanese economy, hasn’t been good for 30 years is [the] decisionmaking process. They’ve been doing the same thing for 30 years,” Koshi says. “We need different viewpoints. Not only women, but also young people, foreigners, LGBTQ people. The important thing is to diversify the people making decisions.”
So last year, with fellow lawyer Kaoru Matsuzawa, Koshi founded OnBoard, a company that trains and places women in corporate board positions across Japan, with a focus on companies that plan to IPO soon. Her first seminar drew more than 65 attendees, and she says OnBoard has now trained more than 230 women. But to meet the Keidanren goal, Koshi says, Japan will need about 9,000 new female directors within the decade. In a 2021 podcast interview, she didn’t mince words: “I have to work very hard.”
Koshi’s work on gender equality began more than a decade ago. After attending Harvard Law School, she worked as an attorney in New York, where she began noticing the different ways women in business were treated. She was shocked when a male colleague told her he was planning to take paternity leave, and it made her wonder why women in Japan often had to decide between having children or careers. (Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi’s decision to take a 12-day paternity leave in 2020 made headlines in Japan.)
Japanese men do fewer hours of domestic work than those in any other wealthy nation, and a culture of long workdays means Japanese women are often forced to leave their careers when they have children. The cultural sentiment was underscored last year when the head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee said women talk too much in meetings. (“If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat; they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” Yoshiro Mori reportedly said.) In 2018, top ruling party politician Koichi Hagiuda said raising infants and toddlers is a job for mothers. He’s now the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry.