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October 24, 2014

JICA Official Participates in D.C. Seminar on Womenomics
She talks about JICA's work to empower women in Africa and Asia

photoJICA Senior Advisor Yumiko Tanaka, second from right, talks at a seminar entitled "Womenomics: Why It Matters for Japan and the World"

Yumiko Tanaka, JICA senior advisor on gender and development, participated in "Womenomics: Why It Matters for Japan and the World," a seminar held Sept. 23 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

The seminar focused on the importance of women's social progress and economic empowerment.

Akie Abe, the wife of Japan's prime minister, gave the keynote address. Panelists included people from the Japanese and U.S. governments, from the United States Agency for International Development, the International Monetary Fund, the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren) and private organizations in the U.S. They held discussions with the more than 150 participants.

Tanaka participated as a panelist in the session entitled, "U.S. Japan Cooperation on Women’s Empowerment in Third Countries."

She announced JICA's new cooperation strategy related to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Touching on the situation of women in developing countries that is interfering with economic activity and social progress, she talked about examples of assistance JICA is carrying out in Africa and Asia. She also talked about seminars and training JICA is conducting in cooperation with the U.S. government to support woman entrepreneurs in Africa, as well as plans for a cooperative project in the Mekong region.

In many societies, including Japan's, the access of women to employment, land, property and financial services is still limited, and JICA's goals are still elusive. The residual societal idea that women's roles are limited to a wife who supports her husband or a mother who rears children, as well as the fact that women do most unpaid work such as housework, childrearing and nursing the sick, are factors preventing women from gaining economic power as individuals. The seminar's purpose was to look at how to overcome this situation, and participants talked about the need for both Japan and the U.S. to cooperate to share their experience and expertise and strengthen their assistance so as to make a greater impact in international cooperation for the economic empowerment of women.

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