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Realizing Change | 変化を実現する時

Elizabeth Handover, JHRS Women in HR Advocate Leader エリザベス・ハンドーヴァー, JHRSWomen in HR」提唱リーダー

This year the spotlight is on women’s empowerment in Japan. Four major women’s conferences are being held in 2015. | 今年日本では女性の社会的地位向上に注目が集まっている。2015年に4つの主要な女性会議が開かれる。

Originally written in English

     The Japan WIN Conference, April 9-10, 2015 kicked off a series of conferences addressing the changing role of women in the economy.

     The International Conference for Women in Business, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Women in Business Summit, and the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo will all be held later this year.

     The title for the Japan WIN Conference, “Realizing Change,” was reinforced by speakers sharing initiatives already happening in their organizations.

     Akira Matsumoto, chairman of the board and CEO of Calbee, told WIN conference attendees that “diversity is not a cost but a long-term investment,” proving it with figures that show Calbee’s strong capital growth and stock prices at a 5-year high. His company’s board of directors now includes five external members, including two non-Japanese directors and one female director.

     Success also grows from the ground up with a practical and realistic approach to increasing women’s leadership numbers through a three-step process: understanding, agreement and implementation strategy, according to Matsumoto. He noted that gaining agreement takes a long time and requires effort and patience but that once that is in place, implementation becomes easy.

     President and CEO of Ikea Japan Peter List set the bar even higher. “Ikea diversity and inclusion is an integrated part of our business. It fits into our humanistic philosophy. Equality is a human right and we give equal pay for equal work.”

     Of Ikea’s Japan-wide staff of 3,000 workers, 99 percent are full time with 64 percent female employees. Forty-three percent of all managers are women and the company will soon reach its 50 percent target. Other successes include onsite day-care facilities, paternity leave, elder-care leave policies, and a take-up of 80-90 percent vacation leave in the company.

     Leanne Cutts is Mondelez International’s Asia Pacific president for gum, candy and beverages. Cutts balances a drive for top-tier financial performance with making the company a great place to work, underpinning her core belief that everyone should be happy at their job.

     To reach her target of 40 percent female managers and 30 percent directors, she focuses on “setting clear goals and targets, being open and inclusive, communicating transparently, reinforcing values and policies publicly and backing these with action.” She runs mentoring circles for men and women, invites them to talk at town hall meetings, and has targeted one-on-one plans to support the growth of talented individuals.

     Her thoughts on successful leadership: “Manage your energy, not your time. Be ‘present’ as often as possible. You don’t build a legacy by taking a comfortable job!”

     Yumiko Murakami, head of OECD Tokyo Centre, showed data revealing that Japan has a continuing huge salary gap for working women with children. On the positive side, Japanese women’s skills are the highest in the world, providing a tremendous talent pool for Japan’s economy.

     Jesper Koll, head of Japan equity and research & chief Japan strategist at JP Morgan Securities, stressed that research and development are Japan’s greatest strengths.

      “The country invests in the future and relentlessly pursues innovation.”On demographics, “Japan is in a sweet spot. For the first time, labor is scarce. More and more young people will become full- time employees.” He foresees that “Japan will be the only advanced country to have a new middle class.”

     A number of dynamic Japanese women presenters spoke out with passion about their beliefs and their commitment and determination to change the status quo.

     The youngest was Hikari Igarashi, a Sacred Heart University student, graduate of the Tomodachi MetLife Women’s Leadership Program, and winner of the Hague Talks Speech Contest. She spoke of her personal journey to independent thought, her future vision and commitment to action.

     Rui Matsukawa, director of the Gender Mainstreaming Division, from the Foreign Policy Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave her parents credit in encouraging her to excel, which she said sustains her as she juggles her career and life as a working mother.

     Wrapping up the sessions was Seiko Noda, well-known member of the House of Representatives. In a rousing no-holdsbarred speech she addressed the need for more female politicians, the value of female voters, her experiences as a mother and her solid commitment to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 2020 goals.

     Then, when the talks were over, a reception followed, where the WIN Award was presented to Rui Matsukawa in recognition of her achievements in furthering gender balance in Japan.

     The ACCJ WIB Summit will be held June 27; the International Conference for Women in Business is July 26. The World Assembly for Women in Tokyo takes place Aug. 28-29.















     最も若い講演者である聖心女子大学の学生、五十嵐ひかり氏は、TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Programの卒業生で、ハーグ・トークス・スピーチコンテストの優勝者である。同氏は自立した考え、将来の展望、有言実行に至るまで自身が辿って来た道のりについて語った。







Elizabeth Handover is president of Intrapersona K.K. and a Lumina Learning partner for Asia. She is co-chair of the ACCJ Women in Business Committee, co-founder of the Women's Leadership Development Centre and special adviser to the Global WIN Conference.


エリザベス・ハンドーヴァー イントラペルソ ナKKの社長であり、ルミナラーニングのアジア 地域パートナー。彼女はACCJウィメン・イン・ ビジネス・コミティーの共同代表であり、ウィメ ンズ・リーダーシップ・ディベロップメント・セ ンターの共同創始者、またグローバルWINコ ンファレンスの特別顧問でもある。


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