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The Kanagawa Shimbun

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training in Japan

Training organized by the Waseda University Institute for Business and Finance and sponsored by the Google News Initiative, was designed to help accelerate DEI in the Japanese news industry

The Challenge

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is one of the challenges the Japanese news industry faces, as the percentage of female journalists is less than 20%, which is much lower compared to the news industry in other markets. If we look at the percentage of women in top editorial positions, it’s only 9%.

Source: Data on top editors at 240 news outlets collected by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Data on female journalists from Worlds of Journalism (2012–2016).

I participated in the course because I wanted to learn more about leadership, specifically from the perspective of diversity. It was a great opportunity to learn together with leaders from news organizations across Japan about this topic and what they are doing to address it. The ratio of female employees at Kanagawa Shimbun is 25%. We’re working towards increasing that to 30% or more and I believe that training like this is important in shifting perspectives.
Risa Akiyama
Kanagawa Shimbun, Director and Executive Editor
90 of participating executives gained a deeper understanding of how “unconscious bias” can lead to discriminatory behavior, and the impact this can have on organizations
80% of participating executives now understand what kind of positive impact DEI would bring to the organization from a business perspective

The Results

The training, which ran for four sessions, provided participants with the knowledge and skills to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within their organizations. Through a combination of lectures on academic research, workshops on unconscious bias, and design thinking exercises to explore gender equity, participants learned to recognize their own and their organizations' biases, and to develop specific strategies for advancing DEI. The final session featured a panel discussion with women leaders in the newspaper industry and discussed the challenges and opportunities for DEI in the news industry.

18 executives from 9 news organizations who participated in the training gained a deeper understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their news organizations. Some executives started the discussions on the advancement of diverse employees including how each employee can showcase their leadership skills and build their careers.

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