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Women's Empowerment.

#SheInspires シリーズでは、毎回WE Int.に所属する素敵なメンバーをご紹介しています。


今回は、WE Int.メンバーである大城智子さんにインタビューを行いました。


子育てをしながら弁護士として活躍するだけでなく、東京大学公共政策大学院での大学院生活、そしてシンガポール国立大学LKY公共政策大学院への留学と、更なる挑戦を続けている智子さん。弁護士、母親、大学院生という三つの役割をこなす、智子さんのエネルギッシュな姿には、WE Int.メンバーも多くの刺激を受けています。今回のインタビューでは、そんな智子さんに、WE Int.に入ったきっかけ、ワークライフバランスの保ち方、ジェンダー平等社会を目指す日本の現状と課題などについて、様々な話をお伺いしました。



WE Int.に入ったきっかけは何ですか?


子供をもって働き始めると、思った以上に大変だと思ったので、自分の経験を活かして、女性の社会進出に何か役に立てればいいなと思ったからです。例えば、少し前に、「保育園落ちた、日本死ね!」というブログがはやり、社会問題化しましたが、あのブログは決して大袈裟なものではないと思います。私も、子供産む前に保育園を10以上みて回ったりしましたが(いわゆる保活(ほかつ)というものです。)、仕事の合間を縫って本当に大変でした。また、出産後半年で職場に復帰するのを目指しましたが、当初は認可保育園に入れることができず、月に20万円近く払って認可外保育所に入れました。それでも、認可外保育所は園庭もなく、狭い施設内に子供がたくさんいて、このまま働くのがいいか悩むこともありました。今、娘とシンガポールに来ていますが、こちらは女性が出産後も働くのは当たり前で、保育園に入るのに苦労することはなく、日本との差を感じています。


女性のエンパワーメントには、働きたい女性が、働くことのできる環境を作るのが重要だと思っています。WE Int.では、こうした環境づくり、または、子育てに対する周りの意識改革に貢献できるようなことをできたらいいなと思っています。



子育てと仕事をしながら、大学院へ通うのはとても大変だと思います。どのようにして、ワークライフバランスを上手く保っていますか?


ワークライフバランスは試行錯誤中で、とてもうまくいっているとは思えません(苦笑)。

私の場合、夫と自分の両親が子育てに協力的なので、自分が大変な時は家族に頼ることで何とか切り抜けてきました。私ひとりきりだと、絶対にできなかったと思います。仕事や学校の勉強と子育てでは、自分の使う脳の部分が違う気がします。子育ては大変なこともありますが、非常に楽しく、リフレッシュになります。仕事や学校で子供と離れている時間がある分、一緒の時はなるべく触れ合おうと考えています。



智子さんの職業は男性の割合が多いですが、女性・母親フレンドリーな労働環境ですか?


私は、弁護士として働いてきました。弁護士は、法律事務所に所属していても個人事業主なので、勤務時間もないですし、きちんと依頼者からの仕事さえすればいつでも休めます。普段は非常に自由なのですが、その一方で、代わりがいないというつらさがあります。例えば、娘が急に熱を出しても、その日に裁判があれば絶対に休むことはできません。裁判所は、弁護士の娘が熱を出したからといって、裁判期日を延期してはくれないのです。また、福利厚生もありませんし、自分で営業をして生活費を稼ぐのは大変です。そのため、出産した女性弁護士が何人も、企業内弁護士(インハウスローヤー)に転職しています。企業は福利厚生も充実していますし、子供の急な発熱にも対応可能だからです。そういう意味で、弁護士は母親フレンドリーな労働環境ではないかもしれません。



日本政府はジェンダー平等社会を目指していますが、日本は本当に変わってきているかのか、また変わっているとすれば、どう変わってきていると思いますか?


政府は、保育士の待遇を改善したりして待機児童問題に取り組んでおり、子育てする女性の社会進出の環境は少しは改善していると思います。しかし、子育てを一緒にするはずの夫や周りの人の意識まで変えることはできません。私の夫や両親は私が働くことに理解がありますが、そうではなく、母親は子育てに専念すべきだと考える人はまだまだ日本にたくさんいます。周りの協力を得られなければ、子供を持つ女性が社会に進出するのは困難なのに、理解を得るのはまだ困難です。そういう意味で、日本はまだまだ変わる必要があると思います。


大城智子 東京大学公共政策大学院2年、シンガポール国立大学LKY公共政策大学院に留学中。 2010年12月に弁護士登録(登録名:江口智子)。2011年3月の福島第一原子力発電所事故の被災者支援の経験から、被災地復興の観点からの再エネ普及に取り組む。日本弁護士連合会公害対策・環境保全委員会特別委嘱委員、日本弁護士連合会.東日本大震災・原子力発電所事故等対策本部本部員、日本弁護士連合会国際人権問題委員会幹事などを務め、衆議院議員の政策担当秘書としても勤務した。著作には、「原発避難白書」(2015年・人文書院(共編著))、「再生可能エネルギー開発・運用にかかわる法規と実務ハンドブック」(2016年・NTS出版(共編著))などがある。


#BeWomenpowered

#SheInspires

#GenderEquality

#Womensempowerment

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Updated: Jul 31, 2019

In this week's #SheInspires, we would like you to meet one of our amazing members, Alexandra Dimitrova!


Alexandra is from Sofia, Bulgaria and she is currently pursuing a double degree in Public Policy at Sciences Po and the University of Tokyo. From an early age, she has been passionate about gender equality and willing to stand up to unfairnesses that hurdle women in their everyday lives.


Read our interview with Alexandra as she shares with us her motivation for joining WE Int., her exciting experience at and key takeaways from the St. Gallen Symposium as well as how women in Bulgaria and Japan suffer differently from gender inequality.



What was your motivation to join WE Int.?


As a kid (I must’ve been 9 or 10) I was taking ‘advanced’ maths classes to get into a more maths concentrated school. First week in, my teacher informed us that girls are generally worse at the subject than guys and never manage to solve all the problems at the exam to get full marks. Instead of demotivating me that pushed me to study more and get as high score as possible, as soon as possible to prove that guy wrong. Sooner or later, I was successful in scoring the max score winning praise from the prof. Apparently, I had done pretty well for a girl. This all is to say that from an early age I’ve been willing to fight for myself and others. I’ve faced numerous more situations where frankly it has sucked to be a girl. Yet, I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is exactly through organisations such as WE Int. that we stand a chance of eradicating those unfairnesses that hurdle women around the world at every life, academic or career step along the way. It is that and the chance to learn more about the gender problem in Japan, meet some incredibly bright and inspiring international and Japanese minds, and the fun and educational socials that motivated me to join WE Int.



You were selected to attend the St. Gallen Symposium, often described as the Davos for the youth, met many powerful business leaders. Please tell us about your experience and what you’ve learned from it.


Yes, yes I did and had a wonderful time discussing the topic of Capital for Purpose at the 4-day event with both powerful business and academic leaders and the youth or as the symposium describes us the leaders of tomorrow. It was fascinating to explore the numerous thoughts on how to achieve the use of capital for purpose, from standardisation to liberalism and everything in between. Especially important is the conclusion we all agreed upon on the necessity for companies, governments and individuals to take on a broader definition of capital, one which also includes human, data, environmental and so on capital. When it comes to gender issues, I found two topics to be generally reoccurring - the lack of women in executive positions and dominant sectors, and the fact that investment seems to never reach female entrepreneurs. Although not necessarily revolutionary problems, I thought it to be extremely positive that everyone shared those opinion. It was also agreed that women not only need more support from those in power to reach to the top, but also must be given easier access to mentors who could empower their careers. I believe for Japan We Int. is brilliantly placed to do just that for young Japanese women and Todai grads.




You received Winds of Excellence Award writing an essay discussing the usage of data for purpose at the St. Gallen Symposium. Congratulations. Can you please tell us about your essay?


My essay looked into the intrinsic value data has, especially in the digital economy. For instance, in its most recent business results, Facebook reported that its quarterly average revenue per user was $6.18 doubling from 2014 with the social media making the most - $26.76 per user in North America. Similarly, to Google each user is worth $182. Online retails sites are the ones making the most from its consumers. Amazon and Alibaba make $733 and $621 respectively per user. Although these amounts are not entirely a result of the two shopping giants monetising customer data, it is believed that the websites’ ability to create value data-driven online marketing is a big help to their success. What is more, these companies – Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Tencent and Amazon, whose revenue is increasing as they acquire more customer data and become better at analysing it, were the highest valued companies of last year, evidencing how valuable consumer information overall is. Or, customer data is an invaluable capital in the 21st century. Although clearly our personal information is valuable for companies, very few have benefited by it. Today, we have seen an increasing business concentration as individuals who have more and more limited control over how their data is being used. What I proposed is for an international system to be created where users are allowed to easily access and share their data with causes, organisation, parties or companies they care about, thus giving us back the power to control who is enriched by our own personal capital – our data.



You’re from Bulgaria where the culture is very different from Japan. What’s your perspective on Japan’s gender equality movements?


I think Bulgaria and Japan both have very patriarchal societies, but women in these countries suffer differently. Bulgaria’s communist past means that there is a relatively high female participation in the workforce, including tech sectors, although this is not necessarily true for the positions of power. This is a bit different in Japan where women only now are starting to enter in massed into the business world. I also find the gender equality is a much newer issue for Japanese than it is for Bulgarians. Nevertheless, both countries do face very similar problems stemming from this male-controlled past, such as an extremely hush-hush approach towards rape and family violence, as well generally the perseverance of gender stereotypes throughout the society. That said, I think Japan recently has been a lot more open to discussing its gender inequality balance than Bulgaria. Apparently, we currently have bigger problems. I do believe that in doing that the Japanese are on the right track and I find that Japan’s particular demographic situation could be a great push for finding more immediate solutions. However, if Bulgaria’s past should teach us anything that is that true societal changes, which do not only include the right to vote and work, but also equality within the family and the public forum, are truly hard to achieve and require political continuity (something Bulgaria lacked), open conversation (something Bulgaria needs) and a lot of pretty cool ladies ready to fight (something we clearly have). Having met some of the students at WE Int., I believe Japan is at least one step closer to the utopia that gender equality is.




Alexandra Dimitrova

Alexandra grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is currently a candidate for the double degree Master of Public Policy between Sciences Po and the University of Tokyo. She holds a BA from the University of Manchester in the UK and has spent a year at Fudan University in China. Alex is passionate about tech, innovation, sustainability and gender equality. Previously, she interned with the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and worked as a journalist at the French travel comparison website – Easyvoyage. Next, she will be joining Barclays UK as a technology graduate.


#BeWomenpowered

#SheInspires

#GenderEquality

#Womensempowerment

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Updated: Jul 24, 2019


岡部友トレーナー

*English translation below*


みなさん、岡部友(おかべ とも)トレーナーについてご存知ですか?この度、WE Int.はEmpower Women Through Fitnessというイベントを開催し、ゲストとして岡部友トレーナーをお招きします。今回、岡部さんをゲストとして招く理由は、彼女の「運動を通じて心を鍛える」というユニークなトレーニングメソッドにあります。それは、日本のフィットネスシーンにありがちな「減量重視」から一線を画すものだと思っています。


日本では「心を強くする」という事についてあまり語られる事はなく、どういうことなのか分からない方も多いと思います。岡部さんはこの点につき、『Women’s Heath』のインタビューでこう語っています。「私のメソッドは、まず自分を認めるところから始めます。他人のようになりたい、じゃなくて、今の自分よりよくなることを目標にする。自分のビフォーより良くなる。それで生まれた自信を他のことに使おうという指導をしています。ですから、そのきっかけを作る可能性があるトレーニングは重要ですし、絶対に結果を出そうと思っています。何かのために努力して、変えようと思っているなんて、そのこと自体がすごいことですよね。そこに関わることは責任重大だと思って仕事しています」


岡部さんの、自分と向き合い、自らをエンパワーしていくメソッドにより、心が変わり、自信に溢れた女性が増えています。岡部さんは「外見がキレイになるのはおまけ」と自身の著書『筋トレが折れない私をつくる』(宝島社)で話します。


「美尻トレーナー」として有名な岡部さんですが、それはあくまでメディアが作った肩書き。みなさんも、イベントにいらして、普段テレビでは見られない岡部さんに会いに来てはいかがでしょうか?


イベントのご登録はこちらから!https://forms.gle/1stXiby6TzD4sv5RA



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Do you know about Ms. Okabe? WE Int. is inviting her as a guest for our "Empower Women Through Fitness" event because of her unique trading method:“building a stronger mentality through fitness”. This is complete opposite of the trendy Japanese training campaigns that focuses on “weight lost”.


In Japan, some people feel lost on how to become mentally strong because people don’t discuss about it often. Ms. Tomo states in her interview with Women’s Health Magazine , “My method begins with accepting yourself. Instead of focusing on ‘I want to be like that person’, I want people to aim to become a better version of themselves compared to today as a goal. Become better than before. I teach them to apply the confidence they earned through that process somewhere else. Fitness is important because it can be utilized as an opportunity, which is why I want to help deliver the best results. The fact that you put in so much effort to change for a reason, that action itself is something amazing. When I’m working, I feel great responsibility for being able to engage in that process”.


Ms. Tomo focuses on women’s empowerment and many Japanese women that takes Tomo’s sessions comes out mentally strong and confident in themselves. She mentions in her book, "Kintorega orenai watashiwo tsukuru ('Weight Training to Become Your Strongest Self ')" that “the change in the appearance is just a bonus”.


Although she is famous as a “beauty-hip trainer”, it is just a title that the media gave her. We highly encourage everyone to come to our event to meet Ms. Okabe to see the other face that you usually don’t see on the media!


Claim your spot to the event HERE: https://forms.gle/1stXiby6TzD4sv5RA




#BeWomEnpowered

#Fitness

#WomensEmpowerment

#SheInspires

#TomoOkabe

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