Japan’s male-dominated central bank sets new diversity target
By Leika Kihara
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s central bank on Tuesday set a two-year target to promote diversity in the male-dominated institution, taking a baby step towards narrowing the country’s gender gap that remains the widest among advanced economies.
The Bank of Japan (BOJ), which has never had a female governor and only has one woman on its nine-member board, unveiled an action plan to boost the ratio of female managers and increase the number of male staff taking childcare leave.
The move underscores increased global attention to diversity that is prodding central banks to act, with Japan lagging behind some of its peers. Japan was ranked 121st out of 153 countries in terms of gender parity in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 global gender gap report.
The BOJ will seek to raise the ratio of female managers to 10% by 2023 from 6% currently through career support and training, the central bank said. That, however, is still far smaller than the European Central Bank’s ratio, where 30% of management roles are filled by women.
Japan’s central bank will also aim to double the ratio of male staff taking childcare leave to 100% by 2023, according to the action plan.
In contrast to the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB), the BOJ has never had a female governor in its nearly 140-year history.
The ECB last May announced a new programme to improve the gender balance of its staff. Over 40% of the Fed’s board members are now women, according to a Reuters review.
Japan’s government has for years sought to bring more women into a job market dwindling from a rapidly ageing population.
But progress has been slow in promoting women to senior positions partly due to Japan’s notoriously long working hours, which are blamed for holding women with children back from career advancements.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Csta)