The fourth seminar in our 2012 series Leadership: People and Power in the UK and Japan looks at Women and Leadership. Japan remains one of the OECD's poorest performers on gender equality issues, despite numerous attempts over the years to improve the situation. Only 11.3% of Japanese Diet members are women (a proportion recently surpassed by South Korea, with 14.7%). A survey of listed companies by Toyo Keizai last year found that women accounted for just 1.4% of management positions. And what about the UK, which elected its first female Prime Minister over 30 years ago? Even here, men in leadership positions still far outnumber women, and the gender debate is very much alive. Do we need quotas for female representation at the highest levels? Our Japanese speaker is Dr Wakako Hironaka, one of the few women at the top level of Japanese politics, who became a State Minister almost 20 years ago, at a time when it was very difficult for women to succeed in this field. Our UK speaker is Suzi Digby OBE, Founder and Principal of The Voices Foundation, well-known as both a charity leader and a choral conductor. The seminar will be chaired by Joanna Pitman, former Tokyo Bureau Chief of The Times.
Dr Wakako Hironaka is a former Member of the House of Councillors (1986-2010) and a former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Japan. Among her many roles, she has served as State Minister, Director-General of the Environment Agency (1993-94), Chair of the Committee on Fundamental National Policies, and Chair of the EU-Japan Parliamentary Group. Dr Hironaka has also been active internationally, as a Vice-Chair of Global Environmental Action, Chair of GLOBE Japan, and member of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, the Earth Charter Initiative, and International Science Advisory Board of UNESCO. She currently serves as Director-General of GEA, and as a Board Member of the Energy and Resources Institute, Earth Charter Commission and PA International Foundation. She was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor Akihito in 2010.
Suzi Digby OBE (Lady Eatwell) is an internationally renowned Choral Conductor and Music Educator. Born in Japan, Suzi lived internationally before settling in London/Cambridge. She has trailblazed the revival of singing in UK schools and the community over two decades. Suzi founded and runs four influential arts/education organisations: The Voices Foundation (the UK's leading Music Education Charity); Voce Chamber Choir (one of London's finest young Chamber Choirs); Vocal Futures (Nurturing young [16-22] audiences for Classical Music); and Artsworks (Leadership and 'Accelerated Learning' for Corporates). She is a Professor at the University of Southern California, where she is creating a Masters in Arts Leadership. As a conductor, Suzi's 2011 debut with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Vocal Futures' Bach's St Matthew Passion) was met with outstanding critical acclaim. Suzi is Trustee of Music in Country Churches, among other music and education charities. She is President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and was Acting Music Director of Queens' College, University of Cambridge. Amongst many TV appearances, she was judge in the BBC1 show, Last Choir Standing.
Joanna Pitman (chair) was educated at Cambridge University where she read Japanese Studies. On graduating, she worked for a number of financial magazines in London before joining The Times. In 1989 she was appointed Tokyo Bureau Chief of The Times, a post she held for six years covering all news out of Japan and major stories in the region. Back in London, she became a writer on international affairs for The Times and did a series of major political interviews for the paper. Changing course, she spent ten years as an arts critic on The Times, and then when her children were older, she joined the strategic intelligence company, Hakluyt & Co. She is a trustee of Somerset House and of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. She has written two books: On Blondes (2004) and The Raphael Trail (2006).
Free but booking is essential at http://www.dajf.org.uk/events/booking-form