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Noble yes, but possible?

RADIO COMMENTARY
Edward Lapham is editor of Automotive News

Oct. 6 -- Mazda's plan to make 35 percent of its worldwide managers women within 10 years is a noble goal. But it may not be attainable.

Japanese automakers are not known for their willingness to identify and promote capable women into management. Worldwide, quite the opposite is true, although in this country some of the Japanese companies have had a smattering of female execs.

Mazda will try to break away from societal norms in Japan. Mazda CEO Mark Fields said he will require his managers to pay special attention to capable women.

How big is this goal? Right now only 9.1 percent of managers are women at General Motors. At Ford, which is Mazda's corporate parent, only 7.4 percent of managers are women.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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