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‘We will go home from Beijing and try hard to make a difference for women globally…’


SEPTEMBER 11, 1995

‘We will go home from Beijing and try hard to make a difference for women globally…’


As coordinator of one of the largest membership bodies for NGOs in Japan, Mitchiko Nakamura spoke proudly of the contributions of her organization, The International Women’s Year Liaison Group (IWYLG) to the Fourth World Conference on Women. IWYLG which was started in December 1974 is an umbrella organization and has 52 member organizations which represent 26 million individuals in Japan.

“There were 5063 Japanese NGOs enrolled at the Forum here,” she said, “We were one of the largest groups and it was due to the fact that we have been raising interest in the Conference and the issues for a long time.” At the Forum which Nakamura thought was very productive, the IWYLG presented a message to “Our Sisters of the World” and identified the concerns of the Japanese women. Among the items listed were that NGOs should lobby and monitor governments to implement the provisions of the Platform for Action; in Japan the NGOs aim to change the present economy-centered development to sustainable development which gives priority to life, human rights and a  healthy planet; to endeavor to abolish the stereotyped sex roles and empower women through education and training so that they can contribute to every sphere of life and most important ofall demand for a nuclear free world and a world free of armed conflicts to create a global society where there is peace for all. “This is a message of solidarity with our sisters from all over the world,” said Nakamura.

“We had 3 workshops in Huairou and the main subject was the dilemma of Japanese women in decision making and education and on how though Japanese women are in the labor force their employment opportunities are not equal. We also had a workshop on how we are cooperating with Unifem to support, women in developing countries for economic advancement,” said Nakamura, who is president of Unifem in the National Committee of Japan. “From Huairou, we women will take the strongest message back to our governments to make sure that the Platform for Action is implemented. When I go home my organization will be trying hard to see how we can make a difference for women not only in Japan but globally.  We still have a long way to go for empowering our  own women,” said Nakamura, “Women in  Japan have to get into policy making positions and have equal opportunities.” 

Nakamura said that since 1975 their organization has been pushing for a national machinery for women and only in 1993, were they able to get a Minister for Women’s Affairs. “The minister is a man but we hope soon it will be a woman,” said Nakamura .

We were also very concerned about doing something for women in developing countries.  We decided to work through Unifem because it is doing good work in rural areas. We got consensus from 52 NGOs and we went to the government and persuaded them to  contribute more to Unifem.  They doubled the amount this year,” said Nakamura, proud of  her organization’s clout.