“When I worked for a securities firm, I was pushed way beyond my capacity because as a woman I was assigned back-office tasks — even making tea! — and at the same time working in a front-end role equally as hard as men,” Tanizaki says, adding that Japan’s Mad Men days of a decade ago are fading fast, in Tokyo at least. “It was more for political issues, not sexist reasons, I quit,” she says.
Tanizaki agrees with Otsuka, arguing that additional support for women entrepreneurs is good, but says that the individual business grants, at around $20,000, are inadequate for tech startups. “Developers and web engineers are expensive in Japan. The grants could be useful for very small ventures such as cafes, not so much for tech entrepreneurs.”
Private venture capitalists, she says, are a better bet for funding and open to women entrepreneurs. However, Tanizaki warns, women in Japan could be their own worst enemy. There are equal opportunities in Japan, she explains, “but in my experience, women don’t want to take risks, they don’t want, on the whole, to take responsibility, they are less ambitious, less willing to sacrifice. Basically, most Japanese women lack courage.”
Pointing out the shame that, even in the startup world, she scarcely meets female executives, Tanizaki wonders how far women in Japan are willing to stick their necks out. “I’m afraid I agree with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that women don’t want to sit at the table. It’s as simple as that.”
— Shuku Tanizaki, founder (? maybe? Doesn’t say) of project management services to the financial services industry, the other a social lending venture company called AQUSH ExchangeCorporation.
HMMMMMMMM. I have thoughts but will stay mum until I’ve spent a little more time in Japan.