This new law in Japan is a big step forward for women managers by Chris Matthews @FortuneMagazine August 28, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Linkedin Share icons Japanese lawmakers have passed a law that would require large companies to publicly set goals for hiring and promoting women to managerial roles, according to a report in the Associated Press. The law, which passed by a vote of 230-1 in the House of Councillors, is aimed at increasing gender equality in the workplace. Japan ranks quite low in international measures of general equality, such as the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index. The WEF ranking has Japan ranked at 104th out of 142 assessed countries, below even emerging-market nations like Indonesia. The law isn’t just about gender equality. Japan faces a demographic crisis, as its working-age population has long been shrinking and it is now facing projections of absolute population decline that could have a devastating effect on its economy. Encouraging more women to work could mitigate this problem. Subscribe to The Broadsheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the world’s most powerful women.