Japanese government calls for museums to appoint female directors

The Cultural Affairs Agency has issued a notice to museums and local governments nationwide recommending that women be appointed as museum directors, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

It has been noted that many women are curators at natural history and art museums, while men usually fill the director post.

The notice was issued on April 15, following the passage of a revised law on museums during the current Diet session. It points out that the percentage of female museum directors is low compared to the total number of female curators, even though museums are required to give consideration to diversifying staff in order to deal with diverse issues in local communities and society.

The notice also calls on operators to make efforts to hire and promote people based on the challenges and characteristics of each museum.

According to a survey conducted in fiscal 2018 by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, there were 1,967 male curators and 1,626 female curators at registered museums that met certain conditions in terms of the number of curators and the number of business days. On the other hand, there were 798 male directors and 120 female directors at such museums.

However, women were appointed in recent years as directors of The National Art Center, Tokyo, and the Mori Art Museum, both of which are located in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

The appointment of the first female head of the Louvre in Paris made headlines in 2021.