The East Asian Legal Studies Program of the University of California Hastings College of the Law is pleased to announce that we will organize a symposium on the topic of “Glass Ceiling for Female Professionals, Executives, and Managerial Employees in Japan: 30th Anniversary of the EEOA and Prime Minister Abe’s ‘Womanomics’” on Friday, September 18, 2015. The Hastings International & Comparative Law Review and the Japan Society of Northern California will be co-sponsors.
Japan enacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOA) in 1985. This year is its 30th anniversary. In spite of the EEOA, Japan is ranked 105th out of 135 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2013 published by the World Economic Forum. Japan’s rank has been sliding down from 98th in 2011 and 101th in 2012. The Japanese government announced a comprehensive plan to promote gender equality in 2010, and the first item in the plan was to increase the proportion of women in “leadership positions” in every sphere of Japanese society to 30% by 2020. For instance, in 2010, the proportion of women among career bureaucrats at or higher than the rank of section chief of government ministries was only 5.1%, and that for those at the rank of executive positions in government ministries was merely 1.7%. Private sector was not better much. The current ranking in the Global Gender Gap apparently indicates that the government policy set in 2010 has not produced a positive impact.
However, the situation seems to be possibly changing. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took the office in December 2013, has taken up the policy announced in 2010 as a major item in his comprehensive plan for country’s economic recovery: He argues that increasing employment of women in general, and increasing proportion of women among professionals, executives, and managerial employees in particular, is essential for the economic recover of Japan, and his pronouncement has been discussed widely in Japan under the nickname of “Womanomics.”
Why have the EEOA and related government policies failed to produce a positive result, particularly for female professionals, executives, and managerial employees? Can we expect that “Womanomics” of Prime Minister Abe will succeed? The symposium will discuss these issues.
The United States appears to be far better than Japan regarding gender equality among professionals, executives, and managerial employees. However, the recent suit filed by Ellen Pao against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, seems to indicate that problems may still exist even in the United States. Although Pao lost, media generally comment that some fields of industry, particularly those in Silicon Valley, may be still dominated by male-only culture often based on old-boy networks. Therefore, the symposium will also be structured to compare the situations in the two countries.
12:30-1:00 p.m.: Socializing
1:00-1:15p.m.: Opening Remarks
1:15-2:15 p.m.: Session 1 “Glass Ceiling—and Maternal Wall—for Women in Managerial and Professional Jobs in the U.S.: Setting a Comparative Framework”
Speaker: Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings. Discussant: Sarah Ingmanson, Former Executive Director, Banking Strategies, Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley.
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Session 2 “Why Female Lawyers Get Less?: Multi Glass Ceilings for Japanese Female Lawyers”
Speaker: Kyoko Ishida, Associate Professor, Waseda University Law School. Discussant: Tasha A. Yorozu, Founding Partner, Yorozu Law Group.
3:45-4:45 p.m.: Session 3 “Glass Ceiling or Iron Weight?: Challenges for Female Executives and Managerial Employees in Japan.”
Speaker: Hiroya Nakakubo, Professor, Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS). Discussant: David A. Makman, Partner, Makman & Matz, and the Chairman of the Board, the Japan Society for Northern California.
5:00-6:00 p.m.: Session 4 “Will Prime Minister Abe’s ‘Womanomics’ Break Glass Ceiling in Japan?”
Speaker: Hiroko Goto, Professor, Chiba University Law School. Discussant: Susan H. Roos, The Roos Group, LLC, and the CAO of Geodesic Capital.
6:00-6:15 p.m.: Closing Remarks
The University of California, Hastings College of the Law is committed to making its facilities and events accessible in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you need reasonable accommodations, please contact the Disability Access Hotline at 415-581-4848 or DAH@uchastings.edu at least two weeks before the event.
Organized by The East Asian Legal Studies Program of the University of California Hastings College of the Law. Co-sponsored by the Hastings International & Comparative Law Review and The Japan Society of Northern California.