Women Stepping Up in the Resource Recycling Industry

A new women's council set up within an industrial association for resource recyclers sets the stage for women to take on more prominent roles in the industry.

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On November 18, a Women's Council was established within the Japan Federation of Industrial Waste Management and Recycling Associations, a nationwide association for the industrial waste processing industry. The council's aim is to promote more prominent roles for women in the resource recycling industry. It will also provide a forum for networking through a community website.

Reiko Futagi, CEO of Otani Seiun, K.K., a Japan 2 Earth partner company, will serve as chairperson of the Women's Council.

Talk of setting up a countrywide group for women first came up at a roundtable discussion that brought together Futagi and representatives from other district-level women's groups in the industry.

Some were reluctant, worrying that establishing a council of women would create a burden for its chairperson and wouldn't necessarily lead to more business. Others noted that some areas of the country had no women members, or that the existing youth council might be sufficient.

To address these concerns, a web-based survey was conducted among female employees of member companies in 47 prefectures. A total of 578 people responded, including those who did not belong to local women's groups.

When asked if they would like to participate in a women's community, approximately 70% of respondents selected "strongly agree" or "agree".

In response to members who were uncertain or felt barriers to participation such as lack of time, the decision was made to launch a community website. The idea was to provide an online environment where members could interact and learn from each other at any time.

Futagi explains, "We want to create a community where women can go to connect with like-minded people and find support. A better working environment for women will contribute to the development of the industry as a whole."

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