Naomi Koshi became the youngest woman ever elected Mayor of Otsu, a Japanese city with 342,000 residents, in January of 2012. She earned her law degree at Harvard and Hokkaido University, and practiced law in Tokyo and New York from 2002 to 2011. Since becoming Otsu’s mayor, Koshi has focused on improving childcare programmes and encouraging women to stay in the workforce. Koshi is one of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders, and is impassioned by the cause of female empowerment in Japan.
Facilitating the continued and increased participation of women in the workforce has been an integral part of inclusive growth efforts in Japan, where 60% of women leave the workforce after having their first child.
– To promote economic growth that is inclusive of women looking to work, Mayor Koshi has increased city subsidies to private nurseries and pushed the construction of 20 new nurseries, so that parents (especially mothers) have improved access to childcare.
– To help take the burden of childrearing in the early years off of women so that they can participate in the labour market, Mayor Koshi has instituted policies that give monetary incentives to male citizens who choose to take parental leave, as well as generally encourage men to take parental leave.
More information: Improving Gender Equality in Japan