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Break Through: Women in Silicon Valley, Womenomics in Japan

Thursday, August 9, 2018 -
9:30am to 4:30pm
Arrillaga Alumni Center, McCaw Hall, 326 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA

Gender inequality in the workplace is still a reality and an issue that must be tackled head-on in Silicon Valley and Japan. In 2017, the World Economic Forum reported for the first time in 10 years, a widening of the global gender gap. Numerous efforts to break this cycle have been announced and implemented to varying degrees of success in both countries making it clear that we must do more, together.

While women in the United States comprise 59% of the total workforce, they only make up 30% of major technology companies and only 11% of the executive positions in Silicon Valley are held by women. An industry that prides itself on innovative thinking and breakthroughs that can fundamentally improve quality of life has yet to find its way to disrupt gender inequality in its ranks. In recent years, Silicon Valley has been rocked by a number of high-profile sexual discrimination and harassment cases. In 2016, women tech leaders created the “Elephant in the Valley” survey to gather data on women’s experiences. The result was a bleak picture of Silicon Valley’s pervasive gender discrimination atmosphere but also the creation of a platform for women to share stories and build networks of support and activism based on shared experience.

As Japan faces a shrinking and aging population, it must pursue productivity growth to remain a wealthy nation. Women, long underutilized in Japan’s workforce, are receiving renewed attention with the Abe administration’s slogan of Womenomics as part of his Abenomics economic reform package. This political pledge has yielded some momentum with a number of concrete policy measures. Prime Minister Abe has even gone so far as to say “Abenomics is Womenomics.” There is still progress to be made. The Acceleration Program in Tokyo for Women (APT), spearheaded by Governor Yuriko Koike, the first female governor of Tokyo, aims to counter this narrative by providing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to build networks, receive mentoring, and become a focal point for dynamism.

The Break Through conference aims to create a dialogue that will spark innovative ideas for narrowing the gender gap by bringing together women thought leaders and entrepreneurs from Stanford, Silicon Valley and Japan to cultivate interpersonal support networks and collaboration.

This conference will:

  • Provide tools for branding and building support networks
  • Discuss progress and challenges in women’s advancement in Silicon Valley and Japan
  • Share practices and organizational features that better enable the hiring and retaining of women
  • Showcase Silicon Valley and Japanese women entrepreneurs

This conference is organized by Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (S-APARC) Japan Program thanks to the generous support of the Acceleration Program in Tokyo for Women (APT), Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Event Sponsor: 
Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
Contact Phone: 
(650) 725-2532
Contact Email:
Time Commitment: 
Learning Experience: