Kobe University held a joint seminar in London and Barcelona on female entrepreneurship, women's social promotion and societal change

  • March 28, 2016
  • Info
  • Keywords: Info, International relations, Society


On February 22, Kobe University and the Japan Foundation in London hosted a joint seminar in London with the topic “Female Entrepreneurship in Japan -Women's Social Promotion and Societal Change-”.

After welcome addresses from Ms. TAKATORI Mana (Director of the Japan Foundation in London) and Professor INOUE Noriyuki (Executive Vice President in Charge of International Exchange) three speakers reported on the current status of female entrepreneurship and women's participation in society in Japan and debated on these and related issues. The discussion was moderated by Professor YUI Kiyomitsu (Executive Director of the Centre for EU Studies at Kobe University).

As the first speaker, Associate Professor YUGAMI Kazufumi from the Kobe University Graduate School of Economics presented research on trends and future issues for female employment in Japan, illustrating the details with clear data. Secondly, Professor KAMOTO Itoko (Faculty for the Study of Contemporary Society at Kyoto Women’s University) explained the relationship between Japan’s postwar family system and women’s social advancement, focusing on the effect of “international or cross-nationality marriages (kokusai kekkon)”. The third speaker, Mr IMOTO Tatsuya (Project Planner for Global Innovation Project, Osaka Urban Industry Promotion Center), introduced the business matching program ‘Ladies Entrepreneur Discussions’ (LED Kansai), the first program in Japan to focus on female entrepreneurs. He presented case studies of participants from this program. At the end of the seminar, Professor Ute Stephan from the Aston Business School provided a summary of the above three speakers. She also pointed out the importance of women’s participation in society from the view point of population decrease and an aging society, issues which are common to both the UK and Japan.

On February 24, Kobe University and Casa Asia hosted a joint seminar in Barcelona with the title of “Women, Maternity and Entrepreneurship. Gender Gap in Japan and Spain” in collaboration with Japan Foundation Madrid and the General Consulate of Japan in Barcelona. Moderated by Mr Rafael Bueno (Director for Politics, Society and Educational Programmes, Casa Asia), speakers from Japan and Spain presented on social issues surrounding the low birth rate, the difficulty of women’s participation in society, and support for female entrepreneurship in each country.

At the seminar in Barcelona, Ms SAGANO Akiko, General Deputy Consul of the General Consulate of Japan in Barcelona, explained the policies for women’s empowerment encouraged by the Japanese government. Professor Albert Esteve Palós, Director of the Centre of Demographic Studies in Barcelona, analysed the increasing age of women having their first child and its key factors. Following this, Professor YUGAMI and Mr IMOTO introduced the case of Japanese society, highlighting the economic index of relation between women’s social participation and the labor market, and support programmes offering entrepreneurial opportunities for women. From the economic point of view, Associate Professor Marc Teignier from the Department of Economic Theory, University of Barcelona, explained the effects of the gender gap on entrepreneurship and workforce participation, focusing on the Spanish case.

At both seminars in London and Barcelona the participants asked various questions, such as the attitudes and the role of men in Japan for supporting women’s social participation and entrepreneurship. Many of the questions from the audience were indicative of their strong interest in Japanese society.

(International Affairs Planning Division)