Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality

Gender Wage Gap

December 5, 2022

Participants (Regularly Updated)

(image 1) Gender Wage Gap
  • Kathy MATSUI, General Partner, MPower Partners (Moderator)
  • BORK Shigeko, Representative, Shigeko Bork BYBS Coaching
  • Katrina Iran FOTOVAT, Senior Official, Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
  • NGUYEN Thi Nga, Chairman of BRG Group
  • TAKEDA Kana, Expert Researcher, Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
  • TODOROKI Maiko President and CEO, Poppins Corporation
  • Chanthachone VONGSAY, President of Lao Business Women’s Association
  • OKIYAMA Nanami G7/G20 Youth Japan (Rapporteur)
  • HAYASHI Tomoko, Vice President, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) Cabinet Office, Japan (Resource Person)

Current situation and challenges to be discussed

Even now, all countries face the challenge of women's wages being lower than men's. Among the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) member countries, Belgium has the lowest gender wage gap of 3.8%. The average wage gap among OECD countries is 11.7%, and that of Japan’s is 22.1%, ranked lowest among G7 (seven major countries)(note1). Women are often employed in low-paid, precarious, and informal jobs, which is an international characteristic.

In Japan, among full-time workers, the annual income of female college graduates is about the same level as that of male high school graduates. Also, the number of divorces has grown to account for one-third of all marriages in recent years. Married women who have been dependent on their spouse's income are suddenly faced with the challenge of financial independence as a result of divorce, and this is one of the factors leading to poverty among elderly women due to low pensions and other factors. The wage gap between urban and rural areas for both men and women and the economic independence of young people are also serious challenges. In any country, it is essential to narrow the gender wage gap in order for women to be economically independent throughout their lives.

There is a movement to use the signing of the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which set forth the principles necessary for a workplace environment where women can play an active role to rank companies in each country and as a reference index for institutional investors(note2). Thus, it can be said that the elements of gender equality and women's empowerment in corporate information disclosure are becoming more important.

At the WAW! 2022, we will discuss concrete measures to make further progress toward closing the wage gap, building upon discussions at previous WAW!

For more information on the current situation and challenges surrounding the correction of the wage gap between men and women, please refer to this page (PDF) Open a New Window.

Discussion topics

  • Why are women's wages still lower than men’s wages even in the same occupation, job category, and years of experience?
  • If the disclosure of information becomes mandatory on the status of gender equality, such as the gender wage gap between men and women, what should employers start with as they will be required to make further efforts to eliminate the gap? What are some examples of companies' efforts in countries where information disclosure is already mandatory?
  • What efforts have been made in recent years to change people's awareness of the gender division of labor and to introduce a diverse evaluation system in order to eliminate the wage gap, and what results have been achieved? What are the challenges for the future?
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