[10 JUNE 2019 / TOKYO]
So Now was invited to attend the Roundtable on Female and Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, a seminar hosted on June 10th at Shibaura House in Tokyo.
During this event, Dutch and Japanese business and government representatives discussed the current state of female empowerment and entrepreneurship in Japan and in the Netherlands.
In the first half of the seminar, they presented the latest developments towards female empowerment in Japan, precisely Japan External Trade Organization’s latest empowerment activities and the WE EMPOWER Japan program in partnership with UN Women, ILO & EU. Conclusions on the report assessing workplace equality in Japan were also given, followed by an open discussion.
The second half of the Roundtable was devoted to the issue of female entrepreneurship, starting with a presentation on the NN Life Accelerator program in Japan. A partner at the Fresco Venture Capital and Director at Mistletoe shared her experience as a participant of the female influentials program at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019. Once more, an open discussion gave the opportunity for leaders to learn from each other and develop ideas on the next plan of action.
Participants from a broad range of backgrounds attended. CEOs, Founders, and Presidents from companies like Coca Cola, Infostellar and Unilever were represented, as well as the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation H.E. Ms. Sigrid Kaag. By gathering together on this occasion, female leaders and those who support their empowerment hope to make progress on the pressing issue of female empowerment in Japan.
Despite being one of the most developed countries, Japan still lacks opportunities for female entrepreneurs to thrive in the current economy. According to Dell and IHS Markit’s Women Entrepreneurship Index, Tokyo is ranked in 39th place out of 50 cities based on its ability to support women entrepreneurs. Within Asia, this is relatively low in comparison to, for instance, Singapore which was ranked in 8th place.
Although Japan has a non-discrimination policy based on gender in hiring, it is ranked last in terms of women’s accessibility to the market. Tokyo scored an alarming 0/100 on 15 various indicators including the percentage of female enrollment in top universities and percentage of major business associations headed by female leaders.
Cultural stigmas towards women’s education and vocations not only hinder their chances to gain experience and expertise but also reduce the presence of female role models essential to set a pathway for new aspiring entrepreneurs.
So Now is fully engaged in addressing the current disparities and hopes to inspire other young entrepreneurs to participate in driving this change.
More on Dell and IHS Markit Women Entrepreneurship Index
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