Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photos from 2012 Forums

The 2012 Forums were held in Yokohama and Wakayama on April 7 and 8.  Over 350 people attended the sessions and heard the inspiring presentations.  In addition to our funder, the United States- Japan Foundation, CGO thanks Business and Professional Women Japan, the City of Yokohama, the Fish Family Foundation, and our other collaborators for their efforts in making the Forum Program a success.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Fellows Program Recruitment

Business and Professional Women Japan (BPWJ) is now accepting applications for the 2012 JWLI Fellows Program.

Applications are due March 31, with all supporting documentation due April 10.  Applications will take place on April 10 in Tokyo.  Please contact BPWJ with any questions at: jwli2012@bpw-japan.jp.

The Program will run from September 5- October 5, 2012 in Boston.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Forums


April 7th, 10:00 ~ 12:30
The Center of Yokohama City Council of Social Welfare
4F Hall
Sakuragi cho 1-1 Naka-ku Yokohama City

April 8th, 13:30 ~ 16:15
Big AI Wakayama
12F Conference Room
Tehira cho 2-1-2 Wakayama City

To register: jwli2012@bpw-japan.jp 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Knit for Japan

“Knit for Japan” is an initiative to collect and distribute hand-knitted/ crocheted items, yarn and knitting/ crochet tools to victims of the Tohoku earthquake.

■Knit/ Crochet items: Every stitch can make a difference. Take out your needles or crochet hook and start to cast-on for a woolly hat, pair of socks, a scarf or some gloves.

■Yarn and tools: From your stock of yarn send a couple of skeins together with needles or crochet hook. Many people at a shelter have not much to do during the day. Knitting can help to relieve some stress, increase motivation and produce something useful. Non-knitters might learn a new skill.

(full text)

Monday, December 5, 2011

An Invitation

A Report on Tohoku Revisit
Perspectives of Atsuko Toko Fish,
Co-Founder of the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund - Boston
Founder of the Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative

5:30pm, Tuesday December 20th, 2011
at The Boston Foundation
75 Arlington St. 10th Floor, Boston, MA

For guaranteed attendance, please RSVP by Monday December 19th, 2011.

Issues facing Japanese women

These recent articles will be of interest to our JWLI colleagues:

"Getting Japanese Women Back on Track" (Harvard Business Review)
If ever a country needed a breakthrough idea for productivity, it's now.

In fact, a solution exists: Japan's underutilized and under-leveraged women. According to a 2010 study by Goldman Sachs, "If Japan could close its gender employment gap...Japan's workforce could expand by 8.2 million and the level of Japan's GDP could increase by as much as 15 percent."

Yet according to "Off-Ramps and On-Ramps Japan: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success," a new study from the Center for Work-Life Policy, 74% of college-educated women in Japan voluntarily quit their jobs for six months or more — more than twice the number of their counterparts in the U.S. (31%) and Germany (35%). The reason for this enormous brain drain: a toxic combination of deeply rooted social mores and how they're manifested in Japan's corporate culture. (full article)

Japanese Women Quit Unrewarding Careers (Wall Street Journal)
It’s no secret that Japanese women are a woefully underutilized talent pool in the domestic labor market. But in a departure from the conventional wisdom that women tend to drop out of the workforce for family obligations or because a baby has arrived, a new study shows that the overwhelming reason for the female labor exodus is because their careers are unsatisfying.
(full article)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2011 JWLI Closing Reception

On Friday, September 30, CGO bid goodbye to the 2011 JWLI Fellows.  In a reception attended by Simmons College faculty and administration, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Fish Family Foundation, the Consul General of Japan to Boston and Boston nonprofit leaders, the Fellows were commended for their progress.  The Fellows have returned to imoplement their Action Plans for social change.

Monday, September 12, 2011

First week

Our Fellows arrived over Labor Day weekend and hit the ground running!  They had a busy week at Web of Benefit.  In additon to firsthand observation of the organization's operation, learning about founding a grassroots NPO, and drafting their Dream Proposals, the Fellows also visited other organizations in Boston such as the Mayor's Commission for Women, the Family Justice Center, and Boston Legal Services.

(Photo credit: Yuka Miyazawa)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Excerpt from Yamanashi newspaper by JWLI Fellow Yuka

Challenges I faced in the last 20 years working in child-care support

I started “Chibikko House” (NPO Child-Care Support Center Chibikko House) in November, 1991, when my daughter was 3 months old. Due to insecurities in my abilities as a mother, I felt a great need for child care support, and so, using my knowledge as a nursery school teacher, I opened a child-care center for babies and mothers. Since then, I started various work such as: publishing a child-care information magazine called “Chibikko Press”; establishing a child-care circle network; organizing parent-child workshops; holding child-care support training seminars; holding several kids events; and setting up a daycare center. It’s been almost 20 years since I first started the child-care center.

If someone were to ask me what has changed in the last 20 years, I would answer that the concept of child-care support has become much more widely accepted in Japanese society than before. One great advancement is the number of the child-care centers - three 20 years ago, and now more than 100. In addition, the number of people and organizations that work for child-care support is increasing. Their lively efforts are impressive. Whenever we got observers from outside of Yamanashi, I believed more and more that Yamanashi is the leading prefecture in child-care support.

However, problems associated with child care are more serious and widespread with the changing of times. I feel that it is very difficult to find solutions for such serious issues. News about child abuse on TV shocks us almost every day. We now have to think of child abuse as not only a parents’ issue but also a social problem for parents and children.

After my experiences, I believe there are 2 objectives that we now need for society regarding child-care support. They are the “empowerment of mothers” and “companies’ social contributions”.

“Empowerment of mothers” means the recovery of mothers’ confidence. I’ve seen mothers who were away from work due to pregnancy and child birth and have lost confidence because they feel like they are isolated from society and stuck in child care with loneliness and anxiety. Because of their depression, the number of mothers who have children but want to work and earn some money has been increasing. Mothers who wish to work suffer when they have this philosophy that they have to stay home and raise children pushed upon them. We also have to consider fathers and families as well. We have to try to provide a good environment where working parents can work and raise children with relief and confidence. A situation where people who stay home and raise children or who work and raise children having full confidence in society and enjoying time with their children, should lead to children’s happiness.  

My second objective has to do with “companies’ social contributions”. When companies think about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), I want them to focus on “child education”, too. A rich education for children will lead to a bright future for Japan. According to a survey by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), countries leading in education, such as Finland and New Zealand, put great focus on the budget and policies for children’s education, but the budget for children’s education in Japan is among the lowest in the world.

As a start, companies can start CSR and build a system where all of society can think about children’s education. And it will be a wonderful day when Japan becomes a country where all children, whether they are from poor or rich families, can have the best level of education.

To realize those two objectives, we will step up to a new level and welcome our 21st year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Introducing the 2011 Fellows!

Michiko holds a B.A. in English and American Literature, as well as certificates in Communication and Counseling.  Her impressive career has been focused on communications and public relations. Additionally, Michiko has contributed to many publications in the capacity of author, translator, and columnist.  Michiko has been involved with a story-telling group, suicide prevention education, and dreams of developing the empowerment discussion circle she founded into an NPO.
Yuka earned an Associate’s Degree in Childcare.  In addition to teaching kindergarten and founding and directing a day care, she has spent twenty years as a director of a nonprofit organization dedicated to nursing.  Yuka wishes to develop leadership opportunities for women in Japan, through advocating for better maternity leave policies, increased childcare availability, and offering networking and informal education around these issues.

Yuki holds a B.A. in Italian language and a certificate in Global Career Development.  She has considerable professional experience in magazine design, production, and management.  Additionally, Yuki has volunteered to manage website and implement events at an NPO for Women’s Education and Leadership with the objective of offering guidance and assistance for young female workers; supported an NPO founded by college graduates, with the objective of offering places for women from different ages and segments to meet and discuss their issues and opportunities; and initiated workshops to empower young women, by presenting role models and offering networking opportunities, to help develop participants’ leadership and facilitate career development. Yuki wants to start own her business in the area of career development support for young people, particularly women.

Yuri has a B.A. in Politics and Economics.  In high school, she was a foreign exchange student in Florida.  She currently works as an analyst, Investigating and estimating the outcome of different sorts of national projects.  Yuri hopes to become an entrepreneur and to build a diverse company that provides opportunities for women’s leadership

Thursday, August 11, 2011

JWLI Founder featured in Boston Globe

JWLI founder Atsuko Fish is featured in this Boston Globe article about her work with the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund (JDRF).  CGO Director Patricia Deyton is also quoted.

Image source (Aram Boghosian)

Good news for Japan's nonprofits

The DPJ, LDP and New Komeito, despite some disagreement over how to reform the tax system in general, are expediting (jp) through the Diet a bill that offers those donating to NPOs more favourable treatment in the tax system, as well as makes NPO certification for tax deduction purposes much easier than it has been.

Check out this interesting article about changes to nonprofit tax policies in Japan at the blog Sigma 1.

This of especial interest to the JWLI Programs, as they offer support for expanding the NPO/NGO sector, and especially for the advancement of women in this growth.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011 Fellows Program

At CGO we are very actively planning for the arrival of our 2011 Fellows: Yuki, Yuri, Michiko, and Yuka!  The Boston nonprofits Web of Benefit, Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, and Ellis Memorial will each host the Fellows for a week again, and visits to other organizations are planned as well.

We also have a new website for the Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative- check it out here!

Monday, March 7, 2011

2011 Forum Publicity

Due to the March 2011 natural disaster, the 2011 Forums originally scheduled for April 9 and 11 in Nagoya and Yokohama have been postponed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Simmons Welcome

Yesterday, CGO hosted two representatives from Business and Professional Women Japan (BPWJ), Masako Hiramatsu and Toshimi Matsubara, Esquire.  Ms. Hiramatsu was a 2007 Fellow, and it was a pleasure to welcome her back to Simmons campus.

We discussed our preparations for the 2011 Forum Program.  The Forum Program is just six weeks away!  BPWJ has been crucial in involving participation from the Yokohama City government, including Mayor Fumiko Hayashi, ranked the 39th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.  Ms. Hiramatsu and Ms. Matsubara also updated us about the activities of past Fellows. 

Following lunch, our Japanese guests visited the Museum of Fine Arts, where current exhibits include An Unspoken Dialogue with Japanese Tea and Flowers and Festivals: Four Seasons in Japanese Prints.

Image source