The Australian Embassy Tokyo, in cooperation with event partners, will celebrate International Women’s Day with a keynote address by leading Australian business director and sustainability advisor, Sam Mostyn, on Friday 9 March. The first woman to join the Australian Football League (AFL) Commission, Ms Mostyn will share her experiences on how ‘Supporting women in sport is good for business.’
“It is important to celebrate the great impact women have in our businesses and workplaces around the world,” said Ms Mostyn. “Society benefits greatly when women are able to bring their full talents and skills into organisations throughout our communities. It is an honour to be spending International Women’s Day in Japan, sharing the experiences of women in Australia, and learning more about the changing role of women in Japan
Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a central focus of Australia’s diplomatic, development and regional security efforts. The Australian Embassy Tokyo and the Australia-Japan Foundation encourage women’s participation and leadership in sports and sports-related industries, including through Australia-Japan Touch Football exchanges and women’s rugby exchanges.
“We encourage girls and women’s engagement in sports at all levels, from the playing field to the boardroom, as an excellent means of empowering all people,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Japan H.E. Mr Richard Court AC.
Ms Mostyn, a recognised leader in sustainability, gender equality and business management, will also launch #CelebratingWomeninJapan – an initiative of Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) Chair Emeritus Melanie Brock building on the work by Australian Dr Kirstin Ferguson called Celebrating Women. In 2017, Dr Ferguson shared profiles of more than 700 women from 37 countries.
“I meet so many terrific, smart and talented Japanese women. They inspire so many but we don’t hear much about them,” said Ms Brock. “I want to use a format set up by a leading Australian ‘woman in business’ to profile women in Japan and create a network and a community. I am absolutely delighted to be able to launch @womenofjapan in Tokyo at the Australian Embassy on International Women’s Day.”
Following the keynote address, Ms Mostyn will be joined by Upper House Diet member Rui Matsukawa and Melanie Brock to discuss what more we could do to promote gender equality in Australia and in Japan.
The International Women’s Day event is supported by Melanie Brock Advisory and the ANZCCJ.
The Australian Embassy Tokyo also collaborated with the Canadian Embassy to hold a ‘Succeeding in the Modern Workplace: Developing Women Leaders’ conference on International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March.
More on Women’s sport in Australia
Women’s sport in Australia is on a positive trajectory. Many sporting bodies are increasingly focused on female representation on Boards. In 2017, Rugby Victoria announced it had achieved 50:50 gender balance on its Board. Rugby Australia appointed its first female CEO, Raelene Castle, in December.
On the playing field, in 2017 the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) attracted 198,000 spectators in its first season. The AFLW competition coincides with a 22 per cent rise in female participation in Aussie rules, and a 76 per cent increase in the number of female club teams. 2017 also saw the third season of the Women’s Big Bash League, setting new records on the pitch. The game was watched by up to 629,000 viewers. Cricket has also seen significant growth in participation amongst women and girls with a 25 per cent rise in female participation from 2016.
The popularity of women’s soccer is also on the rise. This year saw the on-field and off-field achievements of Matilda’s striker Samantha Kerr recognised when she was awarded Young Australian of the Year for 2018. In 2017, Kerr was also the first Australian woman to be named a finalist for FIFA Female Player of the Year.