College Women's Association of Japan
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Promoting Women’s Empowerment at CWAJ’s International Women’s Day Event

Emiko Magoshi, Yoko Narahashi, Kanoko Oishi, Arfiya Eri and Mieko Nakabayashi on the stage during the panel discussion: Visions for Change
Mieko Nakabayashi delivering her Keynote speech at IWD 2024
Attendees at CWAJ’s International Women’s Day event at the Foreign
Emiko Magoshi after moderating CWAJ’s event.

CWAJ held an event on March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day and try to increase public awareness in Japan of our organization. The event, which was held in Japanese at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, featured four highly successful women who spoke about their experiences navigating the male-centric environment of their respective fields and provided their views on what is needed to further empower women and promote gender equality in Japan.

Mieko Nakabayashi, professor at Waseda University and well-known political commentator, gave the keynote speech. She was later joined in a panel discussion by Yoko Narahashi, producer, award-winning director of stage and screen and casting director, Kanoko Oishi, CEO and founder of Mediva, a healthcare consulting and service operation company and Arfiya Eri, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives. Emiko Magoshi, honorary professor at J.F. Oberlin University and a radio personality, served as moderator.

The speakers noted that while Japan remains woefully behind the majority of developed countries in terms of the gender gap, attitudes towards women and their role in Japanese society are changing slowly but surely. They expressed hope that the many obstacles to success that women in Japan continue to face, can be removed further since the younger generation is much more supportive of gender equality in the workspace. 

A strong message emerged from their speeches and the panel discussion: if you believe in what you are passionate about, you will succeed. This message appeared to strongly inspire and encourage many members of the audience, some of whom expressed heartfelt-feelings of gratitude towards the speakers for sharing their personal experiences and offering insights and advice on how to persevere and succeed in a society that retains many anachronistic customs and prejudices against women. 

With three media representatives attending and an audience of more than 70, including a few men, we succeeded in spreading the word about CWAJ and its work promoting the empowerment of women in Japan.

A video recording of the event will be made available to CWAJ membership at a later date so stay tuned!

Co-chairs: Marijke Munsiff and Michiyo Nakamoto