A wonderful collection of captivating articles about empowering exceptional students in Japan, creating a more diverse and inclusive environment, and methods to empower individuals such as building confidence.
Celebrating Diversity and Difference at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark — A Poem About Challenging My Identities, Norms, and Stereotypes
This past February 2019, I was very fortunate to attend a conference on International Women’s Day at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark called “Fight the myths about gender at International Women's Day 2019.” Not only were there fantastic speakers such as Nima Sophia Tisdall of Blue Lobster App, who was recently featured by the Obama Foundation, but also we all participated in a GenderLAB experiment, where we were asked to identify our various, unique identities and the stereotypes that surround them. For example, I distinctly remember writing down that “I am a woman, but I cannot cook, and I don’t want to be a housewife.” This innovative and compelling exercise, stimulated my creative juices and got me thinking about other areas where norms, identities, and stereotypes all collide.
In essence, this day was a day to celebrate diversity and difference by having everyone understand the cross-pollination that occurs with gender, norms, identities, sexuality, stereotypes, cultural mores and values, etc. It’s such a complex topic, because we humans, are complex individuals. But at the end of the day, we are all just a sum of our experiences, and the most important thing, is how we treat each other on a daily basis and how we treat ourselves. Please enjoy the short poem below about challenging my own identities.
Women Entrepreneurs And Empowerment In Japan — Presentation At National Taiwan University (NTU)
In late November 2018, I had the great fortune to participate in a cross-cultural exchange with students from National Taiwan University (NTU) — the best university in Taiwan. During an entire Sunday morning and afternoon, we had around 12 Kyoto University students present about their various research topics, as well as around 6 NTU students present about their own research and points of interest. And of course, I presented on my favorite topic of all time — women entrepreneurs and empowerment in Japan.
Based on the interviews I have conducted with 19 women entrepreneurs in Japan, I shared how women business owners in Japan face specific challenges related to the Japanese socioeconomic, cultural, historical, and political context. For example, Japanese business women have to ignore societal expectations and pressures to get married by the age of 25, stop working to take care of the family and household, and then spend the rest of their lives as a full-time housewife.
Interview With Julie Taeko Gramlich: Researching Female Entrepreneurship In Japan
Kyoto Journal’s Ananya Mayukha interviews Julie Gramlich, a Masters student at Kyoto University, researching female entrepreneurship. Originally from San Francisco with cultural roots in Japan, Julie worked for a female founder in the Silicon Valley before receiving the Japanese Education Ministry’s MEXT scholarship to study the entrepreneurial environment for women in Japan. As part of this research, Julie has interviewed over 19 Japanese women in a range of fields: those who’ve started medical programs, bakeries, and networking platforms, among other businesses.
The Choice — A Conference To Empower Japanese Women & Give Them More Choices!
In late November 2018, I had the great fortune to attend the 1st ever Choice Network Conference in Tokyo about women’s empowerment, personal branding, and entrepreneurship. For half a day, I listened to top women in various industries such as the Chief Editor of a popular women’s magazine — Oggi, a female founder of a Women’s Empowerment Consulting Company in Japan, the General Manager of LVMH Group, and the Founder of the Choice Network.
I quickly noticed that many of the speakers were unicorns in their respective areas and had achieved so much within the traditional Japanese context. And most interestingly, the vast majority of the people I met or heard speak, worked at foreign companies or 外資系 (がいしけい). Thus, it seems that there is a high correlation between those who want to advance their careers at an accelerated path and those who choose to work at a foreign-based company. Apparently, foreign-based companies tend to offer more opportunities for career advancement for Japanese women, and offer a more level playing field. Hopefully, this tendency will change in the near future, so that women who work at any type of company in Japan, have equal opportunities to advance their careers and move up the corporate ladder.
The Future Of Diversity & Inclusion | Post #MeToo Campaign
Due to the recent #MeToo campaign and subsequent high-profile, multi-million dollar payouts to top executives, I figured it's the perfect time to write about the future of creating a more inclusive work environment for all, so that no one ever has to feel like the only one in the room, nor do they have to worry about sexual harassment.
This past summer, I made a dedicated effort to meet with in-person and speak on the phone with, top leaders in the Empowerment, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) space in Silicon Valley. After reaching out to more than 20 people, I was fortunate enough to meet the:
Head of D&I at YouTube
Head of D&I at Zendesk
Director of D&I at Ernst & Young
D&I Manager at LinkedIn
Recruiter at a D&I Consulting Company
Kyoto, Japan Versus San Francisco, California | What Are The Similarities And Differences?
As a San Francisco native and a student who has lived in Kyoto for 2.5 years, I’d say that I have a fair amount of experience to talk about the major differences and similarities between the two cities. After all, the minute you move to a new country, you almost immediately began to compare it with ‘home.’
And then after 6+ months, you realize that by embracing all that this new city and country has to offer, you will be able to appreciate all of the richness it has to offer. And of course, it will never be exactly like 'home,' as it will epitomize so much more — the immense opportunities to grow and develop personally, spiritually, and emotionally.
Blending the Best of Both Worlds Through an Innovative Entrepreneurial Service
A vibrant, energetic, and warm individual, Yuka Imanishi (今西由加) is the founder of both chezmo school — prepares Japanese students for studying and living abroad, and chezmo family — a tutoring service that pairs foreign international students with Japanese families and has become quite successful in the Tokyo metropolitan area. In the next few years, the company plans to expand nationwide due to increasing customer demands.