RIWAC Research Institute for Women and Careers JAPAN WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY


【Report】The Legal Issues in Women’s Labour—What can be appeared from the gender wage discrimination case in Chugoku Electric Power Company and its appeal court decision

“The Legal Issues in Women’s Labour—What can be appeared from the gender wage discrimination case in Chugoku Electric Power Company and its appeal court decision” was held on June 20, 2014 at Shin-Senzankan, Japan Women’s University. The case concerning gender wage discrimination at Chugoku Electric Power Company has been taken to the Supreme Court where the trial is still ongoing.

 We welcomed Ms. Mitsuko Miyachi, an attorney involved in the gender wage discrimination case, who presented a detailed report on the history of gender wage discrimination trials in Japan, the significance of the Chugoku Electric Power Company case, efforts toward a Supreme Court decision, and other related matters. The plaintiff in this case, Ms. Shinobu Nagasako from Hiroshima, and supporter Mr. Go Morita  participated as well. Ms. Nagasako spoke about her thoughts regarding the court battle which has lasted several years and her determination to get a Supreme Court decision, receiving a big round of applause from the audience. In addition, supporter Mr. Go Morita who has fought alongside Ms. Nagasako delivered a powerful message. We also understood how important the trial is. Chicago University professor Kazuo Yamaguchi who wrote a statement for the Supreme Court when the case was taken to its final appeal was also in attendance.

 The symposium served to address what is necessary and what must be done in order to eliminate gender bias from the judicial and corporate worlds and reduce the gender gap.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in today’s event.

【Report】Special Spring Course with Recurrent Education Program

Spring special course was held on Friday, February 28, Friday, March 7, and Wednesday, March 12, 2014 for recurrent education students.

 For details about the course, please visit the Japan Women’s University Recurrent Education Program website by clicking the link below.


【Report】“The Active Promotion of Women: What is needed now?” ―A Symposium hosted by RIWAC in 2013.

On Saturday December 21, RIWAC hosted a symposium on the topic “The Active Promotion of Women: What is needed now?” We invited Professor Kazuo Yamaguchi of Chicago University to make the keynote address, and the panellists were Ms. Riwa Sakamoto, Director of the Economic and Social Policy Office – Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Professor Emiko Takeishi of Hosei University; and Professor Masako Kurosawa of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

In the first session of the symposium, Professor Yamaguchi spoke on “Diversity and the Active Promotion of Women: What is needed now? Ethics and Institutions in Europe and the United States; and Current Issues in Japan.” Professor Yamaguchi gave a detailed presentation of statistical data that he had analyzed, and pointed out that in-house corporate career paths are strongly correlated to gender, and there are significant differences in the management promotion rates of men and women and, correspondingly wide disparities in income levels. He claimed that companies need to recognize “the economic irrationality of statistically discriminating against women.”  He also further proposed concrete measures to promote women’s activity, including “the  restrictions on maximum working hours, a comprehensive ban on indirect discrimination and realization of proper, equal treatment for regular and non-regular employment.”

Having listened to the keynote address, the second session focused on the topic of “Thoughts on the Economic Cost of Discrimination against Women”, with reports made by the panel’s professors on their various areas of expertise. First, Machiko Osawa, Director of RIWAC, spoke on the current conditions facing women under the title “Findings observed from Research on Women and Careers.” This was followed by a report from Director Riwa Sakamoto of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry entitled “The Promotion of Women’s Activities as a Growth Strategy” in which she explained new initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry and at national level, such as “Nadeshiko Brand” (a joint project by METI and TSE to recognize companies active in the promotion of women). Emiko Takeishi, a professor at Hosei University raised questions on workplace management in a speech on “Challenges in the Workplace that inhibit Women’s Activity”; and Professor Masako Kurosawa of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies presented arguments on the issue of in-house corporate training in a report entitled “Developing Women’s Abilities in order to take advantage of Women’s Potential.” After that the panelists came together and fielded questions from floor that included enthusiastic discussions on topics such as “Why is diversity not being promoted in Japanese companies?” and “What is the thinking on the issue of regular employees who are limited in working places or work contents?”

The symposium was attended by 84 people, with a wide range of participants such as researchers, workers, policy makers and students. The questionnaire given out at the end received some enthusiastic feedback such as “I came away with a good understanding of the basic issues and current conditions in Japan”; “I was impressed by the powerful, compelling revelations”; and “I came away feeling that we need a triangular balance (between individuals, policies and companies) to change the negative spiral.” Subsequent, smaller social gatherings on campus have been well-attended, with thoughtful exchanges of ideas.

A transcript of this symposium is scheduled to appear next year in Issue 6 of RIWAC’s Periodical “Women and Careers.”  nyone interested in obtaining a copy should contact RIWAC.

【Report】Seminar: “Dynamics of the Gender Gap in the Workplace: An econometric case study of a large Japanese firm”

Lecturer: Professor Takao Kato.

On August 1, 2013, we invited Professor Takao Kato of Colgate University, U.S.A. to host a study group at the Institute. Professor Kato’s field of expertise is labor economics and he was in Japan as a visiting professor at the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University. The subject of the lecture was “”Dynamics of the Gender Gap in the Workplace: An econometric case study of a large Japanese firm” and it raised the issue of whether long working hours were a cause of gender disparities. It was a very stimulating and interesting event that used an accurate analysis of company data. On the day we attracted more than 20 researchers, including participants not only from this campus, but also from other universities, in addition to researchers from RIWAC. It was a very fruitful study group, with proactive questions also coming from the participants. We would like to once again thank Professor Kato and also extend our gratitude to all who participated on the day for the collaborative exchange of research.

【Report】Seminar: “The Determinants of the Gender Gap in the Proportion of Managers among White-collar Regular Workers”

Lecturer: Professor Kazuo Yamaguchieport

Last September 17th, we invited Professor Kazuo Yamaguchi of the University of Chicago (U.S.A.) to host a study group. The topic was “The Determinants of the Gender Gap in the Proportion of Managers among White-collar Regular Workers: Undue disadvantages of being women and the policy measures of their eliminations” We received a report based on very sophisticated analyses of the causes of the gender gap in management ratios, in light of the low percentage of female managers in Japan and current slow rates of improvement.

On the day the event was attended by about 20 people, including researchers from our own campus and those from other universities, as well as media journalists. After the Professor’s report, there was a lively question-and-answer session. Please note that details of the day’s report can be found on the RIETI (Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry) website.

【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.

“Seeking Diversity in Women’s Social Participation: Today’s Challenging” – an open lecture/symposium hosted by RIWAC in 2008.

1st Session: Lecture 13:00 – 14:30
“Differentials among Women”
Lecturer: Toshiaki Tachibanaki (Professor at Doshisha University; and Member of the Committee for Gender Equality, Cabinet Office.

2nd Session: Symposium 14:45 – 17:00
“Seeking Diversity in Women’s Social Participation: Today’s Challenging”

Moderator: Masami Iwata (Director of RIWAC; Professor in the Faculty of Human Society, Japan Women’s University)

Symposium Panel Members:
Mari Osawa (Professor at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo)
Kimiko Kimoto (Professor at Hitotsubashi University)
Machiko Osawa (Professor in the Faculty of Human Society, Japan Women’s University)

【Report】“Disaster Reconstruction and Women’s Independence” an open lecture hosted by RIWAC in 2011.

On Saturday December 10th, 2011 RIWAC hosted an open lecture. The theme for the year was “Disaster Reconstruction and Women’s Independence.” During the lecture lively discussions were held on how it would be possible to offer support on employment and economic independence to women in the severely damaged disaster areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11th.


Ms. Yaeko Tabata, Director of the Morioka Women’s Center in IwatePrefecture and Vice President of Participation and Planning, Iwate delivered a report on current conditions facing women in Iwate and one of the prefecture’s trial reconstruction projects, the “Care Delivery” project. Those involved visit temporary housing areas in patrol cars, nicknamed the “Me-deru Car (cars of re-growth)“ and the project offers support services such as grocery deliveries and checks on the safety of the elderly; the system also provides work opportunities by employing local women to deliver the services. The project is currently being trialed in 3 areas, with plans for an expansion in services (ergo employment opportunities) in the future.


Ms. Masumi Minagawa, part-time university lecturer and research fellow of the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, spoke on the topic “Why do we need Women to participate in Disaster Prevention/Reconstruction? Activation of the Symposium of 6/11 on Gender Equality in Disaster/Reconstruction.” She presented the lucid argument that a woman’s point of view is indispensable in disaster prevention/reconstruction, and cited examples such as the Great Hanshin/Awaji earthquakes. She pointed out that “disasters do greater damage in weak places” and reconfirmed that it is important for those in a vulnerable position to give their ideas and make their demands on reconstruction.


Having listened to both speakers, Ms. Yoko Shoji, RikkyoUniversityGraduateSchool  raised the two issues of “regional characteristics” and “the need for women’s participation” as points for discussion. Reconstruction is not just a matter of returning things to the status quo; it is an opportunity to create a new society. It was pointed out that, with this in mind, it was necessary to pay careful attention to the characteristics of the region, while also ensuring the active involvement of women.
The day was so successful that the venue was almost full and we had lively questions and ideas coming from the participants. When asked “what are your criteria for employment?” Ms. Tabata gave a very impressive answer, saying “I have people tell me their dreams.” Using “people who speak of having a dream” as a criteria for selecting a staff surely shows, of itself, a “wish” on the part of those selected to “want to continue this employment opportunity forwards to tomorrow.” Amongst the feedback we received in answer to a questionnaire on the lecture, one said “I felt there was hope in the practical use of “cars of re-growth” and that seems exactly what the open lecture turned out to be – full of hope for tomorrow.


【Report】“Women and Social Research” – an open lecture/symposium hosted by RIWAC in 2010.

On December 4th 2010, RIWAC hosted a lecture/symposium on “Women and Social Research” in the Shin Izumiyama Building. This was an open report on a section of the final year’s compilation of a database on social research related to women and careers (since 1975); a project that began in 2008 when RIWAC was selected as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s support project for the development of strategic research infrastructure at private universities. Before the report, Ms. Somswasdi of Thailand’s Chiang Mai University gave a lecture on “An Overview of Research on Women in Thailand: From Mainstreem to Feminist” Afterwards we looked at several categories of social research from around 1,000 pieces compiled in the database, and enjoyed a demonstration of the data archive to be published on the website. The day was attended by around 100 people and significant comments were made by two members of the external evaluation panel, allowing us real faith in the project’s outcome.

【Report】”Women’s Life Course and their Career Development – the Role of Women’s Universities” – an open lecture/symposium hosted by RIWAC in FY 2009.

An open lecture/symposium held in 2009 by Japan Women’s University, RIWAC “Women’s Life Course and their Career Development – the Role of Women’s Universities” (Co-hosting the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology’s support project for the development of strategic research infrastructure “Women and Career Archives” / the university research institute’s research challenge 39 “The Social Advancement of Women and the Significance of Lifelong Learning”)

Opening Statement
1st Session: Lecture 13:35 – 14:35
“Work-life balance and Equal Opportunity Employment”
Hiroki Sato (Professor of the Institute of Social Science, Tokyo University)

10 minute break

2nd Session: Symposium 14:45 – 17:45

“What Career Support is offered by Japan Women’s University?”
×          a report on the topic and content of each program
×          a discussion on the kind of career support that ought to be available at Japan Women’s University and the partnerships affiliated with each program
×          general summary

Closing remarks

A profile of Hiroki Sato

Professor of the Institute of Social Science, Tokyo University
1953: Born in Tokyo
1981: Attended Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Social Studies where he acquired units in a PhD course before leaving
1981: Researcher at the Employment and Occupation Research Institute (currently the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training)
1983: Assistant Professor at the Ohara Institute for Social Research at Hosei University
1991: Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Hosei University
1996 on: Employed in current position

Professor Sato’s publications include:
“An Introduction to Human Resource Management” (co-authored; Nikkei Inc.)
“Childcare Leave for Men: the needs of employees and benefits to the company” (co-authored; Chukoshinsho)
“Utilizing Part-time, Contracted, Outsourced, and Commissioned Human Resources (2nd Edition)” (Edited; Nikkei Bunko)
“Work-life Balance: supporting the balance between work and child rearing” (edited; Gyosei)
Positions concurrently held:
Subcommittee member of the Labor Policy Council, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
Member of the Council for Gender Equality, Cabinet Office
Member of the 1st Public/Private Committee for the Promotion of Work/Life Balance, Cabinet Office
Chairman of the Committee for the Promotion of Harmonization between Work and Life, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare


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