Comment on the JFBA’s Adoption of a New Special Measure to Promote Gender Equality (Women Quota System for Vice President Positions)
Today at its extraordinary general meeting, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) adopted a resolution introducing the “Women Quota System for Vice President Positions” beginning in the 2018 fiscal year (starting April 2018). This System is a new special measure to promote gender equality as part of Positive Action for planned increase of the proportion of women who hold vice president positions. Under this system, in addition to increasing the number of vice president positions from the current 13 to 15 positions, at least two of the positions will consist of female members.
The JFBA declared at its general meeting in 2002 that it would commit to Positive Action to realize gender equality by encouraging more women to participate in the decision-making processes in the justice system. Behind the declaration lies the JFBA’s awareness that bar associations consisting of attorneys whose mission is to protect human rights and realize social justice should serve as a model for a society by actively promoting gender equality in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution of Japan.
Meanwhile, the government’s Headquarters for the Promotion of Gender Equality set a numerical target in 2003 to increase the share of women in leadership positions to at least 30% by 2020 in all fields in society, and various measures have been implemented since then.
Taking this governmental target into account, the JFBA sets its goal every five years regarding the percentage of women in the internal organizations involved in its policy-making processes. In its 2nd Basic Plan for Gender Equality Promotion formulated in 2013, it was hoped that female members who serve as governors of the JFBA (i.e. President, Vice President, and Governors) would come to account for approximately 15% in the next five years to fiscal year 2017, and for that purpose, the JFBA determined that it would promote the improvement of surrounding conditions.
The quota system mentioned earlier, which allocates a certain ratio or more of vice president positions to female members, is to be implemented as part of Positive Action for achieving this goal, and it is highly anticipated that the system will give a great boost to the realization of gender equality in the JFBA.
In order to remove gender bias from the judicial system, provide easier access to justice for women who account for half of the nation, and also to enhance public confidence about attorneys and bar associations, the JFBA reaffirms its faith that it will achieve gender equality in the JFBA. Furthermore, it intends to continuously undertake a role in realizing a gender equal society in which every citizen is able to fully display their individuality and ability regardless of gender as referenced in the Preamble of the Basic Act for a Gender Equal Society.
December 8, 2017
Japan Federation of Bar Associations