Japan firms fall woefully short of meeting government goals on women in management – Reuters poll

TOKYO (Reuters) – About one-fifth of Japanese companies have no female managers and most say women account for less than 10% of management, a Reuters monthly poll found, highlighting the struggle for the government’s “womenomics” drive to make headway.

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask uses an escalator in a quiet business district on the first working day after the Golden Week holiday, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, May 7,2020.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The survey results come as Japan is seen to delay its target this year to raise the share of women in leadership posts to 30% as part of the government’s campaign to empower women, dubbed “womenomics”, and cope with Japan’s ageing population.

The Reuters Corporate Survey, conducted Sept. 29-Oct. 8, found 71% of Japanese firms said women accounted for less than 10% of management, while 17% had no female managers at all.

Asked how much scope there was to increase female managers, 55% said by around 10%, a quarter said by about 20%, one in 10 firms said by around 30%, while 5% saw no room for that.

“Regardless of sex, we should hire talented people and promote them on their merits, rather than putting priority on the proportion,” a chemicals maker manager wrote in the survey.

A paper and pulp maker manager wrote: “We hire more female new graduates than male, but many female hires tend to leave the company after a while, making it hard to raise female managers.”

The survey, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research, canvassed 485 large and midsize non-financial firms. About 240 firms answered the questions on condition of anonymity.

The results were similar to the previous poll taken in 2018.

Japan’s global ranking on gender parity fell to 121st out of 153 countries in a

AU$7.4 billion tied up in active Australian government IT projects

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in early 2017 was charged with looking into the structures of existing Australian government high-cost technology projects over AU$10 million.

Previously, the agency would provide status reports on these projects but that information is no longer provided freely.

Documents received by ZDNet under freedom of information (FOI) in January revealed there were 62 active tech-related projects above AU$10 million underway by the federal government, but the details surrounding how much has been spent to date — and how many of the projects went above the budgeted amount — were refused under the FOI.

See also: Government IT projects failing as DTA’s phone calls go unanswered

In its Annual Report 2019-20 [PDF] published this week, the DTA revealed the total amount of funds tied up in government IT projects, although that figure only accounts for funds as of January 2020.

As of January, AU$7.4 billion was tied up in active government IT projects. AU$1.5 billion was also listed as the value for new proposals.

There were 36 agencies engaged with on 50 digital and IT-enabled initiatives and 26 agencies engaged with on 48 in-flight projects.

“We engaged with 26 entities on 48 in-flight projects and related activities to promote better practice project management methods and support project teams to realise intended benefits,” the DTA added under the header of in-flight achievements related to its target of providing advice and guidance on design and delivery of digital and IT projects.

“We engaged regularly with departments and agencies seeking advice, guidance and support for their efforts to apply the Digital Service Standard and the service design and delivery process to their service transformation efforts.”

The DTA also said, under achievements, that it has continued its work with agencies and provided independent assurance for major digital investments as part

Intel, IIIT-Hyderabad, PHFI And Telangana Government Launch Applied Artificial Intelligence Research Center

What’s New: Today at the inaugural all.ai 2020 Virtual Summit, Intel India in collaboration with the government of Telangana, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) announced the launch of INAI, an applied artificial intelligence (AI) research center in Hyderabad. INAI is an initiative to apply AI to population scale problems in the Indian context, with a focus on identifying and solving challenges in the healthcare and smart mobility segments through strong ecosystem collaboration.

“With its unique strengths of talent, technology, data availability, and the potential for population-scale AI adoption, India has this tremendous opportunity to lead human-centric applications and democratize AI for the world. Our aspiration is to make AI synonymous with India as we strive to achieve the true potential of AI in critical segments like healthcare, smart mobility and the future of work by advancing innovation, research, technology and skills. The launch of the Applied AI Research Center, initiatives to train students on AI readiness skills and the all.ai 2020 Summit reinforce our commitment towards realizing the exponential impact of AI in an inclusive, collaborative and responsible manner.”
–Nivruti Rai, Intel country head for India and vice president of the Data Platforms Group

How It Will Work: INAI will act as a catalyst to accelerate India’s leadership in AI by driving innovation and entrepreneurship, creating national assets such as curated datasets, computing infrastructure, tools and frameworks with the aim to attract global talent for high-impact research towards social sector development. This collaborative effort, championed by Intel and catalyzed by the Government of Telangana, is anchored at IIIT-H and brings multiple institutions together to work on solutions that have societal-scale impact. PHFI is the founding healthcare partner in this initiative.

Why It Matters: As India continues its transformation, adoption

NIC Secures New Contracts in Florida and Iowa for Payment Processing and Digital Government Solutions

Digital government solutions firm NIC Inc. has won new multi-year contracts with the states of Florida and Iowa following competitive bid processes.

“We are excited by the confidence Florida and Iowa have placed in NIC solutions as we continue to expand our payment processing and digital government services across the country,” said Harry Herington, NIC CEO and Chairman of the Board. “These wins further reinforce the momentum NIC has experienced in 2020.”

In Florida, NIC has been awarded a contract to provide transaction-funded payment processing services for all state agencies. The five-year transaction-funded contract, which may be extended by up to five additional years, also provides the ability for cities and municipalities to work with NIC for payment processing services, promoting a comprehensive and seamless financial transaction experience for Florida citizens and businesses.

For its fiscal year ended June 2018, the state of Florida processed 74 million transactions for a total of $52 billion in payments across 19 state agencies and processed 21 million transactions for a total of more than $1 billion across more than 90 localities.

In Iowa, NIC will once again serve as the state’s enterprise digital government solutions partner after a 15-year partnership concluded in 2017. Under the new five-year transaction-funded contract, which includes five one-year renewal options, NIC’s Des Moines-based team will work with state leadership to consolidate digital services into a unified experience for all Iowans.

“We are very excited for our digital solutions partnership with NIC in Iowa, first starting with payment processing services,” said Annette Dunn, Iowa’s Chief Information Officer. “We have many large agencies across the state that can benefit not only from a strategic, streamlined approach to payment processing but also from the many digital solutions NIC provides. These solutions happen to align perfectly with Governor Reynolds’ vision for the

Government probes Microsoft’s effort to boost diversity

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”


CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase staff diversity, given the industry’s longstanding dearth of Black, Latino and female workers in technical and leadership positions. But this time they are running into scrutiny by a Trump administration that has sought to intervene with universities and other institutions over their approach to race and discrimination.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” in the federal workforce and among federal contractors. Microsoft is a major federal contractor, supplying its Office workplace software and cloud computing services to multiple government agencies.

Labor Department representatives didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment Tuesday.

The Trump administration’s move contrasts a flurry of efforts by private companies and institutions to increase racial diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests. There has been a particular emphasis on bringing more African Americans into leadership positions.

More than 40 private and publicly traded companies have joined