After a very successful negotiation workshop-dinner with Malene Rix as a speaker this past June, Inter Media Japan has decided to continue its series of inviting leading female speakers to present their experiences and knowledge about how to obtain and/or improve skills that can lead to fruitful economy in a Japanese business society that has a relatively big gender gap.
The business workshop-dinner for female ambassadors and leaders took place at Grant Hyatt Hotel, French Kitchen, on the 1st of November. This time, we invited Ms. Wakana Tanaka *, who has been an inspiring leader for women in Japan, to lead the discussion.
Due to some social expectations on women’s behavior in business environment, workingwomen of Japan often face challenges of different types; from positions in organizations to remuneration. While things have improved in the recent years, despite the fact that more women graduate from universities in Japan than men, only a limited number occupy senior manager positions. In addition to this, working mothers face considerable difficulty in pursuing their careers after completing maternity leave, due to lack of a flexible work ethic. Taking this into account, one may understand why Japan is ranked 111th out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Index, falling 10 places from last year. This social gender dilemma also affects foreign women who live and work in Japan.
As a Harvard Business School graduate, career woman and mother of two, Ms. Tanaka gave very compelling opening remarks based on her knowledge and experience about the business culture in Japan, social expectations, importance of role models and the future of Abenomics.
During dinner, the participants of 12 different nationalities were involved in a discussion about their own experiences as mothers and workingwomen, living in Japan. This constructive debate became grounds for discussing ways to make significant changes on both individual and social levels.
All participants enjoyed every minute of the session, full of passion and learning from each other. The dinner ended by sharing expectations for Japan’s future, especially in the women’s empowerment arena, and committing to working on this initiative.
* Ms. Wakana Tanaka is the Head of Executive Summits at Google Japan and mentor for women in Japanese business and society.