Women’s Impact Network (WIN) Launch

 In Women at Work

Engaging women in the workforce is a key issue for San Francisco/Silicon Valley and Japan. New research proves what we have known – diversity in the workforce can be a critical element for innovation, risk management and improved performance.

The WIN Network seeks to:

• Educate both men and women on best practices from around the globe in managing gender bias and removing structural impediments to success.

• Inform on positive developments in gender equity/women in the workforce.

• Inspire through offering speakers who can share their stories – including women executives, women serving on Japanese boards, women who have re-entered the workforce after a period at home, women entrepreneurs as well as women authors and bloggers.

• Provide a forum where women can raise issues, share concerns/challenges, and identify solutions to their challenges in the workforce.

The kick-off event held was a tremendous success, with over 100 engaged women and men joining the event! Emiko HigashiDiana Tidd and Tracy Gopal spoke, highlighting the positive changes they’ve seen and how networks like WIN can inspire, educate, and help foster greater opportunities for all.

Emiko Higashi, our first speaker, is the founder of Tohmon Capital Partners and serves on the board of KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ), Rambus (NYSE), Takeda Pharmaceutical (TSE), MetLife Insurance K.K., and Tara Health Foundation, among other roles. She recalled her Harvard business class assumed a company’s main responsibility is to create shareholder value. This contrasted with Japanese companies at the time, which focused on service to customers, suppliers and employees. She has observed a shift by both countries. Japanese companies are acknowledging the need to focus on shareholder return and US companies are focusing on ESG issues. She also noted the rise in CEO activism. A key takeaway from many participants was Emiko’s quote that “You need to know the rules of the game, and then decide if you want to play the game.”

Diana Tidd, our second speaker, is MSCI’s Head of Index and a member the Executive Committee. She is also co-President of Women in ETFs. She shared surprising statistics about the growth of the Women in ETFs organization and its impact on corporate behavior and the ETF industry. Originally declined by the TSE to ring the bell on International Women’s Day, persistence led to the opportunity in 2018.Data showed the percentage of women on Japanese boards in 2017 was 5.3%, woefully below the 21.7% in the US. However, this was an increase from 1.7% in 2014. She shared the role of MSCI in creating ESG indexes used by the GPIF, including the Women’s Empowerment Index.

Tracy Gopal, Chair of WIN, promoted interaction and shared interesting women-in-the-workplace information. Did you know that Kathy Matsui, Chief Strategist for Goldman Sachs, is credited with coining the term “Womenomics?” Do you know which of Prime Minister Abe’s policies relates to making structural changes that will advance women in the workplace? (Answer: The Third Arrow) We are seeing positive changes although there is still much that can be done. We believe building networks like WIN can inspire, educate, and help us all create greater opportunity.

Please join us in continuing to build this community of passionate men and women. This kick-off event was but the first step on this journey. The future of this network will be determined by the goals and aspirations of its members.

We encourage you to get involved!

Please send questions or requests to: jsnc@usajapan.org or tracygopal@outlook.com

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