Shimizu's Policy on Promoting the Advancement of Women
In recent years the Japanese Government has started to promote the advancement of women as part of its growth strategy. This has led to various private-sector companies including it in their corporate management strategies.
Since establishing the Diversity Promotion Office in 2009, Shimizu has established a work environment that makes it easy for a diverse range of human resources to work, and is considering and enhancing many policies related to promoting the advancement of women.
We acquired the Level 2 Eruboshi (L-Star) in 2018. This is awarded to companies that provide superior conditions for the advancement of women, based on the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace.
On March 23, 2017, Shimizu was chosen as a FY2016 Nadeshiko Brand company. The Nadeshiko Brand was jointly introduced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. It signifies a company stock that is attractive to investors who focus on medium to long-term increases in corporate value through excellence in promotion of the advancement of women.
Main Policies on Promoting the Advancement of Women
The main measures implemented thus far are listed below.
Lunch Meeting Caravan 2020
Networking events were held at the Tohoku Branch in November 2020 and the Kansai Branch in February 2021 to build a networking among female employees who are raising children and foster a mindset of developing their careers over the medium and long term. Some employees also participated from online and they exchanged opinions in a peaceful atmosphere with laughter occasionally erupting, over lunch.
A participant who has returned to work commented, “I received hints on how to make time for studying for qualifications while being busy with both work and childcare.” Another participant on childcare leave commented, “It enabled me to feel a sense of connection with society as an employee.”
Held the 2020 Seminar to Support Balancing a Career and Raising Children
The first online Seminar to Support Balancing a Career and Raising Children was held in September and December 2020. The seminars were held for female employees who have returned to work from childcare leave and their managers and was based on the theme of advancing medium and long-term career development.
In September, female employees and their managers who work in greater Tokyo area attended separate lectures, participated in group discussions, and performed individual work. This provided an opportunity for each person to think about the issues from many different angles and perspectives. Time for managers and their staffs to meet was provided after the lectures, and they shared their expectations of work, their career vision.
In December 2020, we refined previous seminar and expanded to nationwide and overseas. Furthermore, we held an online luncheon for employees who returned from childcare leave exchanging ideas and networking and held casual discussion for managers after the seminar.
Responses to seminar survey included employee comments such as "I could think by myself my living life and career vision" and "I could have a network that will lead to the future" . Comments were also received from managers, "It is necessary to manage employees who returned from childcare leave to be active" and "I could talk with staffs from different perception after the seminar, and have ever known their situations and how they think of their careers."
Held the Seminar to Support the Balance Between Career and Raising Children
In September 2019, a seminar was held for female employees who returned from childcare leave between January and June and their managers on the theme of promoting medium- to long-term career development. The event was held for 38 people in 19 groups.
Female employees' comments such as "I was always conscious of telling my manager, even more it was a good opportunity to talk about my career plan" and "I was more motivated to live up to my expectations." Comments were also received from managers and included the feedback, "I would like to continue to study to become a manager and division that support the balance between career and raising children by interacting with staffs with long-term expectations."
Lunch Meeting Caravan Held Nationwide in Three Locations (Nagoya, Tokyo, and Osaka)
Lunch Meeting Caravans were held on July 4, 2018 in Nagoya, December 7, 2018 in Tokyo, and March 13, 2019 in Osaka. We expanded the types of people eligible to participate to interested male employees and employees currently on childcare leave, based on the opinions of past participants. A total of 75 people participated.
We received the following comments. One participant said, "it was good to hear the opinions of men (fathers)." A male participant commented, "I was able to talk with others without regard to their position in the company," and one participant who was currently on childcare leave, "I was worried about balancing work and raising children after returning to work, and this was very useful because I was able to talk to people who were actually balancing both."
5th Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women
The 5th Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women was held in Kanazawa City on November 24, 2017. This is the first time the forum was held outside of the head office, in Hokuriku, the birthplace of Shimizu. The forum incorporated content on developing a fresh awareness of the principles on which our company was founded. Two hundred twenty-two female employees from all over Japan and from overseas participated.
The theme of the forum was Shimizu Pride/Touching the DNA of Shimizu. Michiko Sugawara, the head of Presence-Design, delivered the keynote speech, which was entitled "Soaring Higher Careers at Presence-Design."
The second half of the forum was entitled "Visualizing the Essence of Shimizu from History." Ms. Hatada from the Shimizu Corporate Archive Group spoke about Shimizu's history which stretches back more than 200 years and the prized monozukuri (superb craftsmanship) that has been passed down throughout that history. This was followed by an explanation of Shimizu's policy on the advancement of women by the head of the Diversity Promotion Office.
An informal reception was held after the forum concluded. Executive management also participated in the reception. Participants got to know one another better as they reminisced about their visit to the birthplace of Shimizu.
Participants toured Shimizu Memorial Park, which is said to be the birthplace of the founder (in Koba, Toyama City) before the forum. A lunch meeting caravan was held on the same day and participants exchanged opinions on simultaneously working and raising children over lunch.
Lunch Meeting Caravan 2017
Lunch Meeting Caravan 2017 was held at a conference hall close to the head office on May 9, 2017. Twenty-one women who have children of pre-elementary school age attended.
The goal of this initiative is to create a mindset among women with small children that they can focus on the future and continue working while balancing work and child-rearing commitments, and to create an environment in which they can seek advice.
The participants exchanged information on how they manage working and raising children at the same time, how they use their time at home, and other topics of interest, over lunch.
Participants voiced opinions such as " As they were colleagues in the same company. I felt comfortable consulting them on how to use the company's systems."
4th Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women
The 4th Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women was held on December 2, 2016.Approximately 330 women employees attended from locations in Japan and overseas.
In the keynote lecture, Tsuyoshi Eguchi, the head of Mental Create, spoke on the theme of "What We Can Do to Work Energetically: Six Hints that You Can Begin Using Today." He explained ways to relieve stress and maintain good mental health. The manager of the Diversity Promotion Office spoke next. She provided information introducing the initiatives that Shimizu has implemented over the past year and answered questions received from participants in advance.
During the latter half of the forum, four divisions who represent good examples of promoting the advancement of women each presented on the initiatives implemented by his or her own division, the history behind why the initiative was launched, and details of the activities. After the forum ended, we held an informal gathering that top management also attended and everyone reflected on the forum and exchanged opinions.
Interior of New Helmet Designed for Women
Shimizu introduced a new helmet at job sites as one means of improving the environment at job sites. The new helmet is lighter and has superior air flow.
See Even Summer is More Pleasant with the New Helmet and Air-Conditioned Clothing(only in Japanese) for further details. (Content from this point on is in Japanese only.)
3rd Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women
The 3rd Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women was held on December 4, 2015. Approximately 300 women employees from company and affiliate locations in Japan and overseas participated.
The forum was focused on health as the foundation for active participation and advancement of all women employees, and was based on the theme of "What does well-being*1 mean to me?"
In the keynote lecture, Michiko Nohara, a lecturer at Tokyo Women's Medical University, spoke on the theme of "What Everyone Needs to Work in a Healthy Manner." She explained the skills that women cultivate through child-rearing, the support needed to continue working while raising children, the life stages of women, and health, among other topics.
The manager of the Diversity Promotion Office spoke next. The materials presented included the new steps Shimizu has taken to promote the advancement of women over the past year and the usage status of the various systems. In the panel discussion during the latter half of the forum, an occupational health physician and a public health nurse, who are involved in the health management of Shimizu employees on a routine basis, provided information containing hints on how to remain healthy while continuing to work. Top management also attended the reception after the forum, where participants could interact in greater depth, in a relaxed setting.
1 Well-being: Means being in good condition in terms of physical, mental, and social status
2015 Seminar on Promoting the Advancement of Women
The 2015 Seminar on Promoting the Advancement of Women was held on July 31, 2015. Participants included 60 women employees and 60 of their male superiors from all over Japan and from overseas as well.
The goals were for the women employees and their superiors to share issues and concerns regarding creating an environment that is easy to work in, think about these issues and concerns together, and work to form a network among the participants.
The seminar was also intended to provide a venue for providing information on examples of initiatives aimed at promoting the advancement of women so this information could be shared across all organizations. This was our first attempt at holding a seminar with male superiors as participants. It was one part of the steps we have taken to promote the advancement of women.
In the keynote lecture, Yukiko Takenouchi, the head of Woomax, spoke on the theme of "What is needed to create an organization in which everybody supports one another in developing the abilities of everyone." Lively discussions on the theme of "the ideal company where anyone can work energetically" ensued during the subsequent work group sessions. We also awarded the newly established 2015 Iku-Boss*2 Awards, and the recipients of the Gold Boss Awards presented cases studies on their initiatives. A reception was held after the seminar ended. Top management also attended, and the participants got to know each other better as they reflected on the seminar.
2 Iku-Boss refers to managers who actively work to support the development of women and support their childcare needs, and promote the creation of an energetic workplace that makes it easy to work.
2nd Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women
The Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women was held for the second time on November 14, 2014. Approximately 300 women employees from Japan and overseas also participated in this forum.
The theme of the second forum was "Fixing Your Sights on a Career: Aiming for a Brighter Tomorrow."
In the keynote lecture, Hiroko Kawamoto, an executive officer and managing director of All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., spoke on the theme of "Make the Smiles of Your Customers and Your Group's Greatest Joy!"
She talked about the current state of the advancement of women and the culture that she values so highly in her company, and also talked about some of the lessons she learned from her experiences as a former flight attendant. A panel discussion was held after that with five women employees who each work in a different position and had a different background.
President Yoichi Miyamoto and other members of executive management attended the reception held after the forum, and the participant got to know each other better in the festive atmosphere.
A New Uniform, Safety Belt, and Helmet Designed for Women
The only uniform available for women in the beginning was a smaller size of the men's uniform. However, it did not fit the body shape of women well and women complained that it was hard to move around in, so we arranged multiple fitting sessions and incorporated the opinions of women who actually work at construction sites in a new uniform. We created one that was highly functional.
The lighter safety belt is easy to use and the pink color is eye-catching, so male employees are buying one too.
1st Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women
Shimizu's first Forum on Promoting the Advancement of Women was held on November 29, 2013. Approximately 300 women employees participated from location in Japan and overseas.
The forum began with an opening speech by Shimizu's president, Yoichi Miyamoto. Hiromi Watase, the representative director of Alea, who originated the idea of publishing Zexy when she was at Recruit, delivered the keynote speech. The forum also included a panel discussion by five women who are employees of Shimizu.
Participants who had just met one another for the first time could be seen engaging in animated conversations during the reception which followed the forum, and it was a lively and meaningful event.
Shimizu Begins Providing Babysitting Subsidies When Employees Hire a Babysitter
When an employee hires a babysitter to care for children up to the 6th grade in elementary school or see them off and welcome them home, the company will subsidize the expense, up to 3,000 yen per day.
System for Re-employment of Employees Who Retired Due to Marriage, Childbirth, or Child-rearing
Shimizu has a system for re-employing former employees who resigned because they got married, had a child, or needed to raise children. Eligible employees must have been continuously employed at the company for three years or more and must have been out of employment with the company for five years or less. Shimizu will re-employ eligible employees upon request of that employee, if the division expected to accept them is in need of personnel.