Hello, this is Masami Yokota, UX Design Director at Game Changer Catapult (GCC). An event called, "Mashing Up Vol. 2: Bravery & Empathy" was held on November 30 last year, and I got an opportunity to participate in the platform session. Two questions were posed, "Why do women limit themselves?" and "How can women better care for their mental and physical health?" and a workshop was held. Here is a recap of the event.
Why do women feel they must conform to a certain image?
Panasonic's GCC is working to create new businesses that cross the boundaries between companies and organizations. GCC supports the Mashing Up goals of well-being and full participation by diverse human resources including women. For the platform session on that day, we thought that GCC and Mashing Up could collaborate on issue solving. In order to investigate the topic, first of all, when we asked women around us, "Do you feel there are any difficulties or challenges that are faced just by women?" many felt that they might be putting limitations on themselves.
For example, women who get promotions often get dismissed as "shrewd operators" even if they have the necessary work experience and educational background. Positive comments are rarely made. For that reason, women tend to put restrictions on themselves, thinking, "In order to succeed in a male-dominated society, we must be weak" and "Even if I have outstanding skills and qualifications, I had better hide them." I think this is often the case.
Mr. Yuichi Inobori of INFOBAHN Inc. was asked to facilitate the workshop. He has been a big help to GCC in the area of UX training. As many as 70 people participated in the workshop (thank you very much!). They divided into eight tables, and engaged in candid and lively discussions.
Workshop revealed real desire of women to make changes
During the table discussions, the participants came up with a lot of responses to the questions, "What does the word 'young' convey?" and "What is the difference between youthful and young?"
The question that was posed as the most important one was, "What do we want to do as women?" A variety of opinions were shared concerning this question, and here are some of them.
- I want us to live in the present, and not hang on to the past.
- I want us to stop conveying immaturity so that we can operate more easily in the workplace.
- I want us to live without stereotypes based on experience.
- I want us to freely show our own individual characters, and live without being concerned about others' opinions.
- I want us to embrace change.
- I want each of us to be ourselves, and not hesitate to act our real ages.
- I want us to stop torturing ourselves about getting older, and not hesitate to show our true selves.
Behind the opinions voiced that day, I sensed a common sentiment that "In truth, we really want to show ourselves as we really are today, in terms of age, appearance, and experience, but we hesitate to do so because we don't believe we can do it."
Why do we hold back? We do we hide what we really think and want to do?
Why do we put limits on ourselves? Mr. Inobori summed up the workshop with these memorable words: "The old operating system that forms the basis of society is aging. Meanwhile, we the members of society are still trying to adapt ourselves to this old system. This could be why so many of us place restrictions on ourselves. It is like a situation where we monitor each other to enforce the unwritten rule of society that women must be young and charming, and not show themselves for who they are." That is what I truly believe as well.
Mr. Yuichi Inobori of INFOBAHN Inc. (Left) and Yokota after the event
How can women move forward without limitations?
Instead of conforming to society's old operating system (OS), women want to present their own individual versions of appearance and charm. Can we not update society's OS ourselves, through the power of individuals? To do that, each woman first needs to recognize her own individual value and appeal, but how can she recognize this? My theory is that the key lies in adopting an objective standpoint, and looking at ourselves from a third-party perspective.
In addition to the recent workshop, Mashing Up and GCC are also co-sponsoring a Well-being Hackathon in mid-January as an opportunity to engage in even deeper debate and idea creation.
During the Hackathon, we would like to realize techniques necessary for making sentiments and feelings visible, and tools for adopting an objective third-party perspective, while creating solutions for helping women to like themselves. What kind of chemical reaction can be generated during the Hackathon? I will also report on the Hackathon event, so please stay tuned.
Special Thanks! MASHING UP
Mashing Up is a place for helping to create a society where diverse groups of people including women can play an active role. People of different genders and nationalities and those from different communities and industries, come together and "mash-up" in an effort to promote new networks, new steps forward, and chemical reactions that can generate new business opportunities.
Special Thanks! MASHING UP