A few weeks ago, my friend Cecile Verie – the PR maven at Elle Japan invited me to the Elle Women in Society event. The event that is ran in Tokyo for the third consecutive year aims to help women in Japan realize their potential, believe in their abilities to multitask and come on top of their game without compromising their life/work balance.
I was very moved by the opening speech of Yamazaki Naoko – Japan’s first female astronaut who shared with the audience what it’s like to work in a multi-cultural environment that is tough not only mentally but also physically, how to juggle between family obligations and personal goals, how not to end up neglecting yourself. She said that it’s tough no matter how you look at it but if you start each morning with a smile on your face, you will make it. Put on a red lipstick and go conquer the world. Believe in yourself, believe in your courage even if you don’t feel you have it, believe in your superpowers and never be afraid to change the status quo.
I can say with utmost certainty that women deserve a better credit. We can do everything men can while wearing high heels and breastfeeding our babies. That said, the lack of support from country as well as businesses shouldn’t be among the struggles women have to go through in Japan. The overwhelming deficit of day care centers, the unfriendly working environment in Japanese corporations is simply put shameful. I personally know a lot of mothers who had no choice but give up on their careers because they couldn’t get a place in the public day care system. Others had and still have to go through bullying at work from their colleagues for working less hours.. So, we need more campaigners like Elle Japan, like Google Womenwill and like Needle-Movers to put the word out that supporting working mothers and giving women the same opportunities as men can lead to amazing, successful outcomes not only for the women themselves but for the corporations as well.
The event offered 7 seminars and 14 workshops from successful professional women and speakers from women-friendly companies that gave inspiration and practical advice. The two amazing creators who helped me put the Needle-Movers website together were working at the event as well. Michael Holmes was taking photos at the Google Womenwill #HappyBackToWork booth and Adrian Hogan was drawing portraits of the women at the event.
Michael is a great example of a kind of husband every women should have (should she choose to have one). He helps his amazing talented wife with child care and education and it benefits all members of the family. I have a lot of friends who chose to work from home allowing their wives pursue their dreams. Its admirable and its inspiring. Breaking stereotypes is what our generation will be about.
At the event, I was lucky enough to meet Shlomit – a lifestyle & wellness producer at Elle cafe who inspired me to stay healthy and alert towards the right lifestyle choices. I would like to implement better diet and better habits at our office as well. We have already teamed up with Office de Yasai that delivers to us fresh veggies and fruits, organic juices and natural yogurt. We are setting up new water stations that will help us not only stay hydrated with cool, clean water but also save on plastic and paper. Stay tuned for our new super cute refillable water tumblers.
The event made a great impact on me and my vision for the company. I feel uplifted and excited to follow my ideas and believe that one person CAN make the difference. Cheers to Elle Japan and a big shout out to all brave and talented women in Japan.