Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe embraces 'womenomics' by putting five women in his cabinet

Mr Abe has set a goal of having women in 30 per cent of leadership positions in both the private and public sectors by 2020

Tokyo

Japan’s Prime Minister picked five women for his cabinet on Wednesday, matching the past record and sending the strongest message yet about his determination to change deep-seated views on gender and revive the economy by getting women on board as workers and leaders.

Japan has a vast pool of talented, well-educated women, but they are far under-represented in positions of power in government and corporations. Women make up 10 per cent of parliament and just 3.9 per cent of board members of listed Japanese companies, compared with 12 per cent at US corporations and 18 per cent in France.

Women in Japan have long complained about the obstacles to getting taken seriously at work, receiving equal pay for equal work, and finding childcare or helpful spouses.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated that a key part of his “Abenomics” growth strategy is making greater use of women and promoting them to leadership posts – a campaign dubbed “womenomics”, a term he has embraced. Mr Abe has set a goal of having women in 30 per cent of leadership positions in both the private and public sectors by 2020.

“Realising a society where women can shine is a challenge our cabinet has undertaken,” he said during a news conference. “I look forward to the wind of change these women will bring.”

Having five women in the 18-member cabinet is extremely rare for Japan. It matches the highest number set in 2001 under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Mr Abe’s previous cabinet, dissolved earlier in the day, had two female ministers. Expanding the presence of women in a place as high-profile as the cabinet is seen as a step toward sexual equality.

Yuko Obuchi, daughter of a former prime minister, was named trade and economy minister, probably the most prominent post, and Midori Matsushima was appointed justice minister.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss