The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Nissan CEO says Japan PM's target for increasing female managers too ambitious

  • Print

TOKYO - Nissan's chief executive, who has long made a point of promoting women to management positions, said the Japanese prime minister's plan to boost female bosses to 30 per cent by 2020 is too ambitious.

The participation of women in Japan's workforce is very low by developed nation standards. Women make up 2.9 per cent of manager-level and higher positions at Japanese companies employing 5,000 or more people. Abe wants to increase the number of women in jobs at all levels because Japan's population is aging and its workforce is shrinking.

Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn is advocating that women make up 10 per cent of Nissan's managerial ranks in Japan by 2017.

But Ghosn said he wasn't about to rush things just because having women visible in management ranks has become more topical in Japan.

The proportion of women in management at Nissan in Japan is now 7 per cent, although it's higher for Nissan globally at 10 per cent.

When asked why he was not as ambitious about empowering women as Abe, Ghosn said he didn't want a negative effect by having women fail as a result of being promoted with insufficient experience, which would be a step backward.

He instead hoped to have women "advancing safely," he said

"I'm being conservative. I'm being prudent," Ghosn told the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

The Geneva-based World Economic Forum ranked Japan 105th in last year's Global Gender Gap Report, which measures economic equality and political participation. Iceland was No. 1, followed by the Scandinavian nations. Germany was 14th and the U.S. 23rd.

Women make up 3.9 per cent of board members of listed Japanese companies, versus 12 per cent in the U.S. and 18 per cent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

A Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, Ghosn was critical of the sexist corporate culture of Japan Inc. almost as soon as he arrived in 1999.

Ghosn, who also heads Nissan's alliance partner Renault SA of France, has led a business overhaul at Nissan.

Japanese prime ministers rarely last too many years in office and so it is possible Abe will never be held accountable for the numerical targets he has set for promoting women.

It's a different situation for Ghosn, who answers to investors, reporters and consumers on all the promises that he makes.

Although Nissan was quick to wave the flag of promoting women, it has not been as quick to tap them to its board of directors.

Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. appointed a woman to its board for the first time earlier this year.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world's top automaker, has no women on its board, and has said it has no immediate plan to add any.

Ghosn stressed Nissan sees women as important car buyers, and what they look for, such as seat positioning, interior materials and safety features, are critical in developing models.

That's why it's in Nissan's interests to have women in "decision-making" positions, he said.

___

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you like Gord Steeves’ idea to sell four city-owned golf courses to fund road renewal?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google