Women Shine, Women Lead: Supporting Entrepreneurship & Economic Empowerment in Japan
Zoë Dean-Smith, Senior Director, Global Programs
This month, we take the Global Ambassadors Program to one of the most fascinating cities in one of the most technologically advanced economies in the world — Tokyo, Japan.
From October 12-16, we’ll match 11 Global Ambassadors from the U.S., China, Japan and the Philippines representing a range of industries, including banking and finance, technology and social enterprise with 11 Japanese mentees — women at a pivotal point in their professional, business and leaderships paths. These women have created companies and non-governmental organizations spanning social investment, fair trade and flexible employment services for working families, and will work to build business acumen and leadership skills through one-on-one mentoring sessions and strategic workshops.
This trip will be the 11th in our journey together with Bank of America since we launched the partnership in 2012. Since then, we have facilitated mentorships and trainings for 74 women leaders from 40 countries who have gone on to advance flourishing businesses and social enterprises.
Despite its position as the world’s third largest economy, Japan ranks 104th out of 142 countries on the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Gender Gap Index. There is hope for change. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to increase the economic participation of women in Japan through a set of policies popularly referred to as “Womenomics.”
The environment for expanding women’s entrepreneurship is warming, and both men and women are mobilizing for change. Our innovative mentoring model and practical trainings in Tokyo will help influential women leaders develop the skills they need to help transform Japan’s economy and become powerful role models for the next generation. The program will also elevate entrepreneurship as a path for women in Japan to leverage their skills and advance economic growth in their communities and in the global economy.
Our week together in Japan will also feature opportunities to engage with a range of influencers from the public and private sectors for discussions on this unique moment for women in Japan’s history. We’ll host a forum, “Women Shine. Women Lead.”, to convene experts and thought leaders on the role of women in advancing economic stability through entrepreneurship and social innovation.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
We’ll be blogging from Japan and posting photo galleries each day — follow along and be sure to tweet questions to @VitalVoices and @BofA_News using the hashtag #GlobalAmbassadors. You’ll hear from mentors and mentees directly about what they hope to learn as part of the Global Ambassadors Program. Stay with us!
Deborah Finley Conver
Maria Mercedes Corrales
Sachiko Kuno, PhD