'Japan to have women in 30 pc of leadership positions by 2020'

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Leading Asian economies have pledged to take action in achieving equality of opportunity for women, with Japan setting a target of having women in 30 per cent of leadership positions by 2020.

Speaking during a special address at the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described his country's female workforce as its most "under-used resource".

He said that his intention is to make Japan a place where women shine and this would be done by ensuring 30 per cent of all senior leadership posts by 2020 be occupied by women.

According to him, Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) could grow by 16 per cent if women were as active in the economy as men.

In Japan, women's labour force participation is 63 per cent, while that of men is 85 per cent, and women occupy only 9 per cent of leadership roles.

Moreover, Abe said that Japan intended to encourage diversity in the labour force by making it easier for foreign workers to enter the country.

Another leading Asian economy, the Republic of Korea has signed an agreement to launch gender parity task-force in the country, that aims to put in place policies and initiatives to address the country's gender gap.

"Collaboration between the public and the private sector is imperative for bringing more talent into the workforce and into leadership roles – and that is what the Task Forces seek to do," Saadia Zahidi Senior Director Head of Gender Parity and Human Capital World Economic Forum said.

Commenting on the gender parity task force, Cho Yoon-Sun, Minister of Gender Equality and Family of Korea, said "with the World Economic Forum as a facilitator, I am confident that this Task-force will help us achieve our goal and produce a notable outcome."

In Korea, women's participation is 54 per cent, men's is 75 per cent. Women hold 10 per cent of leadership roles.

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