(Asahi: March 20, 2015 – p.7)
In manufacturing industries, which are said to lag in female appointments to boards of directors, such appointments are now on the upswing. The idea that diverse human resources should be involved in management seems to have permeated thinking at companies. There are some cases in which women are invited from outside companies.
Masako Tanaka (56), chief of the Legal Affairs Division in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Headquarters of Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., will be the first female executive board member effective in April. The appointment is a result of the company’s evaluation of her creating at a company retreat a forum for discussing long-term board issues while she was head of the secretarial section. President Mitsuyoshi Shibata expects her “to set an example for other female employees.” Fujitsu Limited will promote in April Yumiko Kajiwara (53) to managing director. She will become the third female member of the board of directors.
Because many companies hired mostly men for managerial positions before 1986 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Law for Men and Women was enacted, some companies train female employees who were hired mid-career to be appointed as staff. Hitachi Ltd. will promote Yukiko Araki (54) as its first female director in April. The former career bureaucrat at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry made a change of career in 2012. Asako Hoshino (54) who will be the first female executive managing director at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., from April used to work at a bank and other companies before she was employed by Nissan.
According to a survey targeting companies with more than 100 employees conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the proportion of females in posts at the division manager or higher levels increased to 6.0% in 2014 from 2.7% marked 10 years ago. But compared with the West, Japan is still behind. As the generation of employees who were hired immediately after the Equal Employment Opportunity Law for Men and Women had been enacted are now in their 50s–“old enough to become members of the board of directors” –female board members may no longer be rare.