On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles hosted a symposium and panel discussion on “Women in Charge: How Empowerment in East Asia and the U.S. Fuels Economic Growth” at the Official Residence of the Consul General of Japan. In his opening remarks, Consul General Akira Chiba welcomed the panelists and audience members before elaborating on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to promote initiatives that create an environment where women can demonstrate their power and capabilities to the full extent.
As part of efforts to promote a “Society Where Women Shine,” the Japanese government has designated the time between Oct. 1, 2016 and Jan. 13, 2017 as “Shine Weeks.” During this period, events are held to explore and encourage the active participation of women in society. Shine Weeks is organized in conjunction with WAW! (World Assembly for Women), an annual conference hosted by the Japanese government since 2014. This year’s WAW! 2016 conference, to be held on December 13 and 14 in Tokyo, aims to raise awareness about empowering women in Japan and other nations across the globe, and their evolving roles within society.
The Nov. 2 symposium and panel discussion at the official residence sought to further discussion about such themes. Tracy Young, previous anchor at CNN HLN Local Edition, moderated the event, which featured speakers from the public and private sectors as well as academia. Kaori Sasaki, founder and chief executive officer of ewoman, Inc. and UNICUL International Inc., talked about equal pay issues and structural issues faced by working women in Japan. Chiling Tong, founder and chief executive officer of the International Leadership Foundation, offered insights from her longstanding career in the U.S. government and experience working with officials in Asia. She shed light on the challenges facing women in Asia and the U.S., but also noted how the emergence of high-profile role models has encouraged more women to flourish in their careers. Yongsun Paik, professor of International Business and Management at Loyola Marymount University, talked about such developments as the impact of gender institutions and cultural practices on working women.
After the panel discussion, the panelists and audience enjoyed light refreshments while continuing the dialogue on empowerment of women in East Asia and the U.S. and its economic impact.