Thursday, December 05, 2013

First ever female aide to Japan’s PM appointed; How Abe attempts higher growth by pro-woman steps

A WEEK ago, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed Makiko Yamada as his official secretary, creating history by appointing the first ever female aide to prime minister. Most see this as a part of Abe’s ongoing initiative of achieving higher economic growth by empowering women. The appointment of the 53-year-old bureaucrat in such a key post along with other initiatives of bringing more Japanese women into the workforce have prompted…
visiting US Vice President Joe Biden to shower praise on Abe. “I, too, compliment Prime Minister Abe on his initiatives to bring more women into the workforce, stay in the workforce and give them more opportunities,” said Biden, as quoted by Wall Street Journal, the largest circulated business daily in the world. Significantly, the US too has recently appointed a woman diplomat, Caroline Kennedy, as its ambassador to Japan, another first in the US-Japan diplomatic history.
Yamada had earlier served as the vice-minister in the ministry of economy, trade and industry. Vice-minister is a bureaucratic post in Japan, and not a position for political leaders.
Hailing from the city of Tokyo, Yamada is a graduate of Waseda University. She began her bureaucratic career in 1984 at the Posts and Telecommunications ministry.
By advocating women empowerment particularly in government and private offices, the Abe administration has been trying to convince foreign investors that the move would increase Japan’s economic growth, according to reports.
Despite one out of two university graduates in Japan is a woman and about 45% entry-level jobs are being grabbed by women, only 1% CEOs are actually women. 
In fact, Abe had earlier called for increasing the number of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2020 asking all listed companies to have at least one female board member, the Wall Street Journal report says. According to 2011 statistics, there were 505 women on the boards of 3,608 listed companies in Japan.

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