Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Nissan, Kao, Others Get TSE's Women-Friendly Label
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Tokyo Stock Exchange Inc. has designated 17 first-section companies as "Nadeshiko" stocks, acknowledging their efforts to support women in the workplace.
Nadeshiko is an autumn flower that symbolizes feminine beauty and strength.
The TSE, a unit of Japan Exchange Group Inc. (8697), teamed up with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to select the companies based on such metrics as the percentage of female managers and initiatives to help support a work-life balance. Return on equity (ROE) was also a criteria.
Firms that made the list include Fast Retailing Co. (9983), operator of the Uniqlo apparel chain, Nissan Motor Co. (7201), Kao Corp. (4452), Toray Industries Inc. (3402) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316).
At Fast Retailing, women now account for one-third of store managers, up from 10-20% a decade earlier. The retailer's ROE climbed to 20% for the year ended Aug. 31, fueled in part by marketing and online sales strategies incorporating a woman's perspective.
Nissan offers child care facilities at some operations to help employees strike a balance between work and family. At Kao, female managers account for nearly 10% of the group's full-time workforce.
Nissan and Kao both boasted ROEs of 11% in fiscal 2011, well above the TSE first section's roughly 5% average.
Toray began offering parental leave in 1974. And starting in fiscal 2012, it rolled out a program allowing employees with children in the third grade or younger to work from home.
The 17 companies are all highly regarded in the stock market, with 11 outpacing the Nikkei Stock Average's 35% gain since the end of 2011.
The Nadeshiko designation is part of an effort by the bourse operator and government to promote women's contributions in the workplace.
"We hope our efforts will spur discussion about changing the peculiarity of Japanese firms in having few women in management," said Japan Exchange Group Chief Executive Officer Atsushi Saito.
(The Nikkei, Feb. 27 morning edition)