【Report】“Women’s Career Transition and the Role of the University” – An International Symposium hosted by RIWAC in 2012.
On Saturday December 8th, we hosted an international symposium on women’s career developments and the role that universities should play therein. We invited experts involved in career support for women from the U.S.A., France, South Korea and Japan to the symposium.
The symposium began with a report from its coordinator, Professor Machiko Osawa of Japan Women’s University, on the current status of working women in Japan; a report that used the findings of a study entitled “Survey on Women and Careers” (carried out by RIWAC.) Next, Connie English, a teacher at the University of Virginia in the U.S.A., reported on various programs at the University of Virginia that aim to support re-entry into the workplace. In addition Mr. Samgeun Kwak, a teacher at EwhaWomansUniversity in South Korea, gave a detailed account of the university’s efforts to assist graduates to find work. Ms. Charlyne Millet, a teacher from the National Institute of Applied Sciences of Strasbourg in France, gave an address on gender inequalities in the French labor market, and we heard about the efforts and achievements of the “Mama Challenge” at Showa Women’s University from Natsuko Kohara who is Vice-President of the University (the Mama Challenge is a program to support the re-education of women and their re-entry into the work place.)
The reports gave a meaningful overview of the situation concerning women’s career development in each country and the type of initiatives that universities are making in response.
Afterwards, the speakers came together and discussions on trends in the support for women’s careers and the role that universities should play were opened up to the floor.
Issues were raised on a variety of aspects regarding the re-entry of women into the workplace; these included not only support for skill improvements, but also the importance of emotional support, and the fact that initiatives are needed to provide support not just once but as many times as needed if a career is interrupted. There were more than 50 participants, despite the fact that it was a very cold day. There were some very deep discussions, and so many questions from the floor that we did not have time to accommodate them all.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated on the day.
Subsequent, smaller receptions on campus have been well-attended, with thoughtful exchanges of ideas taking place with the professors who came from such a distance.
A transcript of the symposium is scheduled to be posted in issue 5 of RIWAC’s periodical “Women and Careers” next year. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy, please contact the Institute.