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IMG_4667As I wrote briefly few days ago, on Wednesday last week (February 18), I had a privilege to moderate the panel at the Netherlands Ambassador’s Residence. Ambassador has been very supportive and interested in the issue of female empowerment and hosted the thematic dinner. Panelist included Paul Polman, Global CEO of Unilever, Kathy Matsui of Goldman Sachs, Chikara Funabashi of MEXT and Kaori Sasaki of e woman.

10980760_10203783257081146_2437349393643801392_n Cocktail & buffet dinner began after the welcome address by the Ambassador where I met with some old friends and met with new ones.

The panel was very interesting, with initial remarks from P. Polman re what Unilever has done on this issue. Kathy Matsui shared her experience of being invited to the construction company (first time!) as the shortage of people has triggered the interest in the hidden assets of Japan–women. Chikara Funabashi shared his own personal experience of encouraging his wife to start working. Kaori Sasaki discussed the labor law and how double tracks-one for man and the other for women- seem to have made the issue more difficult.(Photo on the left)

As I see it, there is a momentum for female empowerment and we can clearly make the business case for that now. Questions from the floor were good and I wish we had more time. (We could have easily gone on for another half an hour!)  After the panel, I got to enjoy wine!

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