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genderpallAs I wrote earlier, Seminar entitled “Women in Public Office” was held on Friday, September 27, with the key note by Ms. A. Jorritsma-Lebbink, Mayor of Almere,  Ms. Y. Koike, member of the House of Representatives and Ms. E. Okuyama, Mayor of  Sendai.  Three key notes were followed by two respondents, K. Sasaki, CEO ewoman and Ms. M.Andriesse, Vice President & board member of Randstad Japan with their remarks and reactions.  The seminar was organized by the Netherlands Embassy  and began with the remarks by the Ambassador Van Vollenhoven. I served as the moderator.

gender1lMany seminars and forums have been held on the related topics of diversity and work-life balance lately, but this seminar was unique in that it focused on Women in Public Office.  The key notes by the three speakers were very interesting as they addressed the institutional aspect of the issue of diversity/gender, and inspiring as all of them told their own personal stories.   The comments by the panelists also shed some light on the issues in Japan, in particular.  The interaction  with the floor was quite lively as many had questions.

The audience consisted of three groups–those from public sector, private sector and academia.  Some 25% were men, which could have been higher, but still good.  The questions  from the floor covered much broader area than the original title of the seminar “Women in Public Office-Showing the Way to a Better Work-Life Balance?”

I felt that this issue has many more aspects which are inter-related than we think of,  and as such, quite complex to resolve.  I fully agree that we need to have diversity at the decision making level to make the change happen.

genderp2It was a good opportunity for us all to share some ideas and see the opportunity to collaborate.  I am grateful that the embassy of the Netherlands organized this type of event and I was given the opportunity to participate.

(I felt that I talked a bit too much for moderator, as I have been studying this issue recently and have been in the process of increasing opportunities for inclusive growth and development of individuals.  Thus, the topic is close to my heart!)

The nice reception followed at the Netherlands Residence where I met with many more people.  It was a fun and inspiring event.

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