- Event Report
FY2011 Seminar for Gender Equality Officer and Women Leaders in the Asia Pacific Region
Date：October 20 to 29, 2011
The National Women’s Education Center of Japan (NWEC) held the “2011 Seminar for Gender Equality Officer and Women Leaders in the Asia Pacific Region” from October 20 to October 29 under the theme of the roles played by women in disaster restoration. Representing 9 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (India, Indonesia, South Korea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, China, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), 11 women leaders working for headquarters organizations in each country, nongovernmental organizations, or educational institutions took part in the seminar as trainees.
On October 20, the 11 trainees arrived at NWEC. After participating in the program orientation, they visited the Information Center for Women’s Education and the Women’s Archives Center. After lunch, in the afternoon, they received a lecture on efforts from a gender perspective made by the Japanese Government and private organizations toward disaster restoration from Dr. Keiko Ikeda, Professor in the Department of Education at Shizuoka University. Additionally, they participated in a presentation on the history, functions, and operations of the National Women’s Education Center of Japan from Ms. Kubo, Vice President of NWEC.
1. Visiting the Information Center
On the second day of the training, the trainees spent all day engaging in country report presentations and having discussions from a gender perspective about efforts made in their own countries in a time of disaster. In the evening on the same day, they attended the networking event of the “Forum on Exchange in Research and Practices Promoting Gender Equality (NWEC Forum)” organized by the National Women’s Education Center of Japan and deepened exchanges with those who are promoting gender equality in Japan.
2. Attending the NWEC Forum Networking Event
On October 22, the poster session was held at the venue of the NWEC Forum. The trainees exchanged views with the Forum’s participants on efforts related to disaster prevention, disaster mitigation, and gender in countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
3. At the Poster Session
On October 24, the trainees deepened their understanding of the gender equality policy pursued by the Japanese Government at the Gender Equality Bureau of the Cabinet Office. They then made a courtesy call to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In the afternoon, all the trainees moved on to Kobe City.
4. Courtesy call to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
On October 25, the trainees visited the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution to visit a space where they can experience what was happening at the time of the Great-Hanshin Earthquake through images and sound, and see a reproduction of the town immediately after the earthquake. They also saw an exhibition of the records of the disaster and learned about the restoration initiatives. They later visited Ms. Kazumi Inamura, the Mayor of Amagasaki City, at the Amagasaki City Hall and exchanged candid views with the Mayor, who is involved in child-rearing as well as in activities as a policymaker. In the afternoon, they visited “Trepied,” the Amagasaki Women’s Center. After taking a look around the facility, they listened to a lecture on operations, training courses, etc., carried out by Trepied. They then viewed a video message from Ms. Mutsumi Suda, City Council Member of Amagasaki City, followed by a lecture on how to deal with violence against women, which occurred during the period of disaster restoration. from Ms. Reiko Masai of the Executive Board of Women’s Net Kobe, part of the NPO Center for Supporting Women and Children. After the lecture, discussions were held with the trainees.
5. Visiting the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution
6. Exchanging views with Ms. Kazumi Inamura, Mayor of Amagasaki City
7. Visiting “Trepied,” the Amagasaki Women’s Center, and taking a look around the facility
On October 27 and 28, Ms. Asako Osaki was invited from the Gender Action Platform as a facilitator. The trainees reported the results of the 10-day training program and prepared materials for presentations at the International Symposium scheduled for the next day.
8. At the Closing Ceremony of the Seminar for Women Leaders
On the final day, October 29, the “2011 NWEC International Symposium for Disaster Restoration and Gender” was held in Tokyo. The trainees participated in the symposium, and a trainee representative made a presentation to raise issues and make policy proposals for the challenges common to each country, namely support for disaster restoration that reflects the needs of female victims, community reconstruction, and the roles played by women in establishing disaster prevention and restoration systems.
In between the lectures and visits, the trainees were provided with opportunities to learn about Japanese history and culture. On October 27, volunteers of NWEC held a tea ceremony class. In a tea ceremony house that the trainees tried for the first time to sit down Japanese style, which is kneeling on the floor with their legs folded beneath their thighs, and were served Japanese sweets and green powdered tea. Thus, they enjoyed Japanese culture.
The trainees commented as follows: “I was given a valuable opportunity to learn about efforts related to disaster prevention, disaster mitigation, and gender in each country including Japan,” “I want to leverage the network of people I created through the seminar for my future career,” etc.
Sincere appreciation is extended to those who received the trainees attending the seminar, as well as to the lecturers, and to those who cooperated as volunteers.
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