Shinzo Abe to develop ‘Japanese Davos’ for women

Shinzo AbeJapan is suffering from  economic stagnation partly due to the failure to bring women into work

Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is set to launch a women-focused version of the Davos economic forum in a bid to boost the number of women in the Japanese workforce.

The Japanese leader said the event would involve International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and Cherie Blair, the wife of former British premier Tony Blair.

“Women have the greatest potential, and allowing them to demonstrate their full abilities is the core of our growth strategy. This will be a Davos meeting for women,” Abe told the Nikkei business daily during an official visit to Australia.

The move is being seen as a further effort by the Japanese government kickstart growth in the world’s third largest economy.

Japan suffers from one of the lowest rates of female workforce participation in the developed world and critics say that the country’s economy can only be turned around if it harnesses the untapped resource of working women.

However, Abe will have to tackle issues including a lack of childcare facilities, badly developed career support and a culture of sexism which results in many women remaining at home. The country also suffers one of the lowest birthrates in the developed world.

The planned Tokyo conference would look at ways to link female participation in the workforce with economic growth, according to the Nikkei report.