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International Understanding Seminar, KFAW Consulate Series Part 2 “American Work Styles” (November 30, 2012)

KFAW_consulate_series_2_20121130.JPG     The Kitakyushu Forum on Asian Women (KFAW) has launched the KFAW Consulate Series as our new international cooperation project. This project comprises lectures delivered by consuls general of consulates located in Fukuoka Prefecture. As the second round of the series, the International Understanding Seminar with the title of “American Work Styles” was held on November 30 (Friday), 2012 at Kitakyushu Municipal Gender Equality Center, MOVE.

    Invited as the lecturer for the seminar was Consul for Public Affairs Director Michael Chadwick of the Consulate of the United States, Fukuoka, Japan. Presenting some comparisons between the U.S. and Japan, the lecturer spoke about the working style of people in the U.S., the work-life balance, and many other topics.


    He explained that the U.S. is now suffering a wide variety of problems, such as a rapid deterioration in the unemployment rate since the so-called Lehman Shock, and the differing unemployment rates among ethnic groups. He also referred to the growing rate of women in the U.S. workforce and the increase in time spent by men on housework. With regard to the percentages of women in the workforce, there is a decrease in Japan from 48.7% in 1970 to 48.2% in 2011, while there is a considerable increase in the U.S. from 43.3% in 1970 to 58% in 2011.

    In addition, the lecturer explained about effective systems for ensuring a work-life balance, such as a flexible hours working system, teleworking, a compressed work week (which enables an employee to take an extra day off by allowing the employee to work his/her usual number of hours in fewer days per period), all of which have already been introduced into many companies in the U.S.

KFAW_consulate_series_2_2_20121130.JPG     He said that as a multi-ethnic country, the U.S. has many problems but that there are many opportunities to create new ideas when people of different backgrounds in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and other aspects work together in one place. He continued that this holds true of Japan, and that the creation of a workplace with diversity where the young, old, male, and female work together will lead to the generation of profits for the whole of society.

    He concluded his lecture by quoting Mr. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum: “The key for the future of any country and any institution is the capability to attract the best talents. To develop the gender dimension is not just a question of equality; it is the entry card to succeed and prosper in an ever more competitive world.”

    At the Q and A session following the lecture, many participants shared various opinions and asked the lecturer questions. The lecture served as a very good opportunity for all the participants to review their work-life balance based on what they had learned from the working style of people in the U.S.