On 12th of March 2021, Accenture Japan organized an internal online event for International Women’s Day where the ILO was invited to speak on women’s empowerment and future of working styles. The event garnered over 2,500 of Accenture’s staff, and it became a good opportunity for them to think about their own career and gender equality in the workplace.
Charles Bodwell, ILO’s Enterprise Development Specialist for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific, spoke on the various approaches of the ILO on gender equality in the world of work. From the importance of women’s economic empowerment to closing rural-urban gaps for economic development, the ILO has been working on training programmes that equip underserved groups with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for professional success.
The ILO’s activity-based learning tools are participant-driven and interactive training programmes that have served over 300,000 people while recently being adapted for digital platforms. This is more important than ever as COVID-19 has fundamentally impacted the workplace. Working from home and social isolation disproportionately impact women who bear the burden of caring responsibilities and persisting gender norms.
The ILO-Accenture Japan (Corporate Citizenship) collaboration continued with a webinar on the 17th of March 2021, where Akira Kawasaki, ILO Enterprise Development Officer introduced the ILO’s work in the Asia-Pacific. Taizo Yokoyama, director of AISIMAS Impact Center and Youth International Support Association and two participants of his trainings using ILO’s tools presented on ILO activity-based learning tools and its relevance to contemporary social issues in Japan.
“The ILO’s activity-based learning tools do not force values to participants, but are purposed to encourage them to think and discuss spontaneously. This is a very useful tool to encourage people to become more proactive.", Mr. Taizo Yokoyama, director of AISIMAS Impact Center and Youth International Support Association
The webinar discussed the difficulties working mothers face and the increasing trend of youth Hikikomori – young people who socially withdraw from society – across the country. Gendered and demographic challenges have only heightened during COVID-19. The conversation paved ways forward for collaboration and adapting ILO’s programmes to support these issues in the future.
This collaboration was realized by cooperation from Accenture Japan, Youth International Support Association, and AISIMAS Impact Center for event coordination, as well as the support from the Government of Japan through ILO/Japan Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific (SSN Fund) for development of ILO activity-based learning tools.