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IEEE Japan Council Women in Engineering Affinity Group

Lecture by Prof. Mitiko Go, President of Ochanomizu University

In the afternoon of Saturday, March 1, 2008, Prof. Mitiko Go, President of Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan gave us a talk on "My Career Developed in International Society", based on her own experience as a woman researcher who has developed a career in a global background.
She noted the most challenging time for women researchers is a child-rearing period when they have to take care of their children. However, once these women survive this period, she asserted, they will come out fully-developed researchers, founded on competence and confidence built up over the difficult time.
Therefore, she points out at the necessity to provide a support system for women researchers in the period of child-rearing.
President Go's own experience is a case in point. It is during her child-rearing period that she made a pioneering discovery in biochemistry, a feat praised globally by such prominent researchers as Dr. Gilbert, a Nobel recipient in chemistry, which offered her a way forward to professorship from a lecturer.
She is engaged in various activities to support women researchers encouraging their career not only as President of Ochanomizu University, but also as member of public councils that drive the future of science and technology in Japan.
It was a quite successful lecture that was well-attended (around 70 attendees) and received overwhelming feedback.

Read the report in Japanese.

Prof. Go talks Prof. Go Big audience All together at the party afterwards

Panel Discussion "How to develop business career?"

The panel discussion was held at the large lecture room of the main building of Ocha-no-mizu University on June 18th 2008. Four active women engineer were invited to talk about how they build up their career and how they enjoy their life. More than hundred and ten people participated in the discussion. Moreover, half of the participants were student.
Prof. Michiko Go, who delivered her lecture at the seminar sponsored by WIE in March, started the discussion with opening greetings. Prof. Go mentioned that the number of women engineer at the top of companies are less than that in the leading positions of universities or research institutes, and talked about her hope of educating women engineer who can be an active leader at companies.
Prof. Masumi Narita of Tokyo International University, Department of Language Communication presided over the event. Four panelists were given five minutes to talk on the topic. First speaker was Dr. Miwako Doi of Toshiba Research Center. She worked on Word Processing, VG/CG, Device, Wearable/Ubiquitous computing, mainly in the area of Human Interface (HI) for thirty years. At the end, she showed a picture of her carrying Mikoshi (portable shrine) to introduce us of her activeness at home.
Second Speaker was Ms. Yukari Tsuji, chief researcher of NTT corporation. Ms. Tsuji not only worked in research institution but also has a wide experience of working at corporate business and as a MIT Sloan Fellow. Ms. Tsuji told us about the three points she always keeps in mind: 1) accept diversity and think versatile, 2) prioritize and choose the best for now, 3) enjoy when you should. She showed the picture of her enjoying Halloween party at the end.
Next speaker was Ms. Kumi Hatsukano, chief of PV Second Product Development Division Design Group at Nissan. She started working on car designing after finishing her Master degree from Waseda University. She is the first woman manager in this area. Every morning Ms. Hatsukano goes out with her husband and two year old child and three of them come back home together. In most family, as wife has the final authority to decide car purchase; women perspective is very important for the car companies. Nissan is promoting women participation in the company.
Last speaker was Dr. Takako Hashimoto, specialist of Ricoh Research and Development, main division and WIE Japan Chief Secretary. Dr. Hashimoto started her career in company after graduating from Ocha-no-mizu University, School of Science, Department of Chemistry. She worked on data base and multimedia. She said that the reason she could continue her work was following; understanding boss and workplace environment , motivation for work, nearby role models and friends, reliable mothers' network and cooperative family.
The discussion was followed by answers from the panelists to the questions collected previously from participants and some useful comments from the audience.

Q1) How do you choose your career when you were a student?
A1) When I was looking for work, many of my friends chose working in a bank or brokerage firm but I thought about the end of bubble economy and chose a company with versatile business (Tsuji). I wanted to make something I use, something close to me and so I chose making cars. I went to graduate school because I wanted to acquire some special skill before starting to work (Hatsukano).
Q2) How did you face difficult obstacles?
A2) When I became leader, I had some difficulties. I tried to make a good working environment for my colleagues (Doi). I am facing difficulties now for my small kid. But everybody is cooperating as I tried hard for my career so far and they have faith in me (Hatsukano).
Q3) How do you manage both your work and child care?
A3) I utilize flexible working time system. When I have some appointment at the evening, I wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to start my work ( Tsuji). I think it is good as the stress from child care goes away when I do work in the office (Hashimoto).
Q4) What do you think is the advantage for women in a working place?
A4) I think women are more considerate and can accept more diversity than men (Hashimoto). As a housewife I understand the needs of consumers which is important for product development. At workplace I try to distribute the work best suited to the person (Doi).
Q5) Though I am not yet married and would like to continue my work, when do you think is the best time for giving birth?
A5) If you are not confident about your physical strength, it is better to give birth at the very beginning of your career when you can catch up. Otherwise, you should build up a stable position before giving birth ( Hatsukano). I think anytime is OK. Now-a-days there are many helpful role models for you to follow (Hashimoto).
Q6) What do you think is important for communication with others?
A6) It is important to have an eye contact during greetings. When you get busy, unconsciously you put on an avoiding aura. Put off the aura when you notice and make chance to talk to your neighbour (Tsuji). Try to talk something other than only greetings and be a good listener. (Doi)
Q7) Do you have any message for the young generation?
A7) Though it is important to strengthen your skill, it is also important to take challenge to new things and increase your abilities ( Doi). Enjoy now and you'll have more fun tomorrow (Tsuji). Enjoy your work. If you have a better chance, go for it. (Hatsukano) Have a challenging target and try! (Hashimoto)

At the end, Dr. Hideko Kunii, WIE Japan Chair, greeted all and introduced activities of WIE. She told about her confidence in the achievement of women engineers. IEEE is a academic society where 370,000 members or more exist all over the world. She asked to participate as the member of a global community of WIE (Women in Engineering) to contribute to the promotion and the support of the female engineer and the researcher.
The panel discussion was concluded by Dr. Mihoko Otake, WIE Japan vice Chair and the chairperson of this panel discussion with a vote of thanks to all guests and participants for making the program a success and her hope for planning again such program in the future.
Ninety of the ninety two participants said they were satisfied with this panel discussion.
Some of the comments from the participants are as follows;
"I am glad to hear directly from working women."
"I am going to start thinking about my own career."
"I become hopeful."
(*)This report includes only part of the panel discussion.
reported by Mihoko Otake, translated by Basabi Chakraborty (IEEE Japan Council WIE Affinity Group)

Read the report in Japanese.

Prof. Narita chairs the panel Doi and Tsuji Hatsukano and Hashimoto Audience

Lecture by Dr. Rob Reilly

On Tuesday, July 15, 2008, there was a lecture talk by Dr. Rob Reilly, Chair of the IEEE Education Society's Chapters at Tokyo Institute of Technology. His talk was entitled 'Thinking Outside the Box We Exist In: You Can Win a Nobel Prize', and provided insight into how we could reach for the stars and actually achieve greatness. It provided insight into how we think inside the box and what we can do to think outside the box and achieve greatness.
The talk was co-sponsored with The Center for Research and Development of Educational Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, IEEE Education Society Japan Chapter, and IEEE Tokyo Tech Student Branch.
Rob starts his presentation Rob talks among the audience Rob walks around

Aichi Industry-Academia-Government Forum for the Promotion of a Gender

Equal Society Symposium

- Diversity creates our Future - Towards a society that promotes Individuality and Competence -
(10th November, 2008, Nagoya University Noyori Conference Hall)
On 10th November, 2008, WIE in cooperation with Aichi Employers' Association, Nagoya University, The Office for Gender Equality Nagoya City, Aichi prefecture held the following program with lecture, panel discussion and workshop on career path for women and need of diversity. In spite of being a working day, the number of participants, not only from Aichi prefecture but also from outside, exceeded 90.

Aichi Industry-Academia-Government Forum for the Promotion of a Gender
Equal Society Symposium Program:

Dr. Kunii's Keynote Speech
Reported by Emi Yano. Translated by Basabi Chakraborty (IEEE Japan Council WIE Affinity Group) Read this report in Japanese.

The First Symposium of Center for Women in Research of Tsuda College

Thinking of support for women researchers engaged in technology field based on case of America and Japan (a meeting room at Tsuda Hall, Sendagaya, Campus, Tsuda College, Nov. 23, 2008)

The symposium was hosted by Center for Women in Research of Tsuda College, sponsored by NWEC (National Women's Education Center, Japan) and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, in association with IPSJ (the Information Processing Society of Japan), EPMEWSE (Japan Inter-Society Liaison Association Committee for Promoting Equal Participation of Men and Women in Science and Engineering), IEICE (the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers) and WIE Japan. There are two sections in the symposium.

In the first section, excellent lectures were delivered by Mr. Shigeyuki Kubota (Deputy Director-GeneralInformation and Communications Policy Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications), Dr. Caroline Simard (Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, America), and Dr. Yoshikazu Touyama (Visiting professor, Japan Women's University). The importance of strengthening international competitiveness in ICT field, and the support for women researchers engaged in technology field in America and Japan were also introduced.

The second section was a panel discussion participated by Ms. Rieko Yamamoto (Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd.), Dr. Nathalie Cavasin (Waseda University), Dr. Takako Hashimoto (Ricoh Co., Ltd./WIE Japan). The participants narrated career-building measurements, issues and countermeasures based on their experiences. The speeches and panel discussion made it clear and deepen understood that the common grounds and differences among challenges to women researchers who engaged in technology field in America and Japan. Meanwhile, issues about network building for women researchers, role model presentation, essentiality of inspiring and mentoring female students during education, and many viewpoints on relevant solutions in future were mentioned.

In these activities, participants included not only women researchers of WIE Japan, but also males and even foreign researchers, which turned diversity into reality. More activities of supporting researchers will be held in future.

Mr. Kubota's Speech Dr. Hashimoto in the Panel
Reported by Takako Hashimoto. Translated by Jien Kato (IEEE Japan Council WIE Affinity Group)
Read this report in Japanese.