Japan to require listed companies to disclose ratio of female executives

Japan has decided to require listed companies to disclose in their annual securities reports the percentage of women in senior management positions, with the aim of increasing the number of female leaders in the predominantly business world. male in the country.

The Financial Services Agency’s (FSA) decision to compel around 4,000 companies, mostly listed companies, comes as investors pay more attention to how women are promoted and help their businesses perform better .

The agency aims to make disclosure mandatory possibly in the 2023 financial year, from April next year, through a review of the Cabinet Office order.

Under the financial watchdog plan, listed companies must now also disclose details such as average pay by gender and the percentage of male workers who have taken parental leave.

Currently, securities reports require information such as the number of employees and their average age. Under the law, companies are penalized for making false statements.

The plan was presented at the end of March to a working group of a panel of agencies tasked with improving disclosure of information to investors.

Japan has lagged behind other major economies in achieving gender equality in leadership positions. It ranked 120th out of 156 countries in the global gender gap rankings in 2021, and 117th in economic participation and opportunity, according to the World Economic Forum, a Switzerland-based think tank.

Data from the Ministry of Interior and Communications showed that the ratio of female managers in Japan was 13.2% in 2021, below the 30% to 40% seen in the United States and European countries.

The government has failed to meet the stated goal in 2003 of filling approximately 30% of senior positions in Japan with women by 2020.

In a policy review in 2020, the government pushed back the date to “as soon as possible in the 2020s”.

The gender pay gap is also a concern, with labor experts attributing it to women working fewer years in continuous employment than men, as well as a small number of women in management positions that earn higher salaries.

Full-time working women earned an average of 251,800 yen in monthly wages in 2020, or 74.3 percent of the 338,800 yen earned by men, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Japanese companies had been required to disclose salaries for women and men, but this was removed from the year until March 1999 to simplify securities reporting.

But the seizure of the wages of women and men will again be required, because this has become one of the barometers for investors in the appreciation of the value of companies. The FSA said research has shown that a company tends to perform better when it has a higher ratio of female leaders.

Britain and Germany are seeking to make disclosure of the ratio of female executives mandatory and to set targets.

Companies have also become more proactive in placing women in management or leadership positions.

According to Waris Co., an employment agency that matches companies with candidates for leadership positions, the number of companies wanting their first female board member has increased compared to a year ago. two years old.

“With the reorganization of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, companies are trying to make themselves more attractive to investors,” said Miwa Tanaka, co-CEO of Waris.

On April 4, the Tokyo Stock Exchange was reorganized from its four sections into three business segments – Prime, Standard and Growth markets – to attract more foreign investment through stricter listing standards and corporate governance.

The stock operator has urged top-tier companies listed on the Prime Market to improve corporate governance, for example by having outside directors make up one-third of board members and improving transparency by providing information to investors in English.

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