New Year's Greetings for 2023

Happy New Year, everyone! Unfortunately, though, I don't feel very happy. The COVID-19 pandemic has entered its fourth year, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is still going on.

In the meantime, WAN has made great strides. We are now much more online. In the past, these New Year's greetings were videotaped but are now recorded via Zoom. The number of members has increased, including lifetime members. Our general meetings and social events are now online. For the first time this year, we also started an online salon for lifetime members. The Board of Directors meetings are also online, eliminating travel costs while increasing the number of meetings and the exchange of information. It’s just wonderful.

The Book Talk was also fun. We did a project "Our bodies, Ourselves―A Book By and For Women” to look back on history. In January, we will do a spin-off project, "More Report: 40 Years and Now." Please look forward to it.

We also organized a symposium, "What It Means for an Adult Woman to Learn," which dealt with lifelong learning for women.

We had a very interesting seminar featuring a graduation thesis by a University of Tokyo female student, "University of Tokyo Female Students Not Allowed to Join: What's Happening in Intercollegiate Circles," published in the WAN Women's Studies Journal.

In the Ueno Seminar, we featured Yayo Okano's Who is the Caregiver? We also held a screening of Prison Circle, our first face-to-face meeting in a while.

Our database of doctoral dissertations in Women's and Gender Studies has been steadily accumulating, with more than 1,400 entries. We held two dissertation seminars for public attendance.

The Junior Project is also exciting. We are communicating with teenage girls online. Teenage boys are now participating in this project as well.

We had the WAN Feminism Introductory School, which lasted for two years and ended with a total of 12 sessions. We are planning to offer an advanced course, "Become an Information Producer," this year. Please wait for the opening announcement.

The Mini Communication Library is getting pro bono advice for renewal. The WAN Foundation is also doing well. “Letters from Boston" and "Immigrating to the Netherlands" are very interesting.

There is something important to mention. We have increased our online co-sponsored actions. From April to June, we co-hosted the Gender Issues Campaign with The Academy for Gender Parity in anticipation of the Upper House election. We did it three times.

Then from October to November, I scrambled around. We co-sponsored the "Continuous Actions to Prevent the Worst Long-Term Care Insurance Revision in History" with the Women’s Association for a Better Aging Society. With the cooperation of the Choose Life Project, the webcast has now received more than 10,000 hits. We hope you will take a look at it. It seems that our members are not so interested in long-term care insurance, perhaps because they are young, but your parents' care and your own retirement are at stake. Please do take a look.

In December, we co-hosted "Criminal Law Reform Has Full of Problems" with Human Rights Now. In this way, we are increasing the number of actions in cooperation with other organizations. We also hold petition drives and lectures. WAN stands for Women's Action Network. At first, I wasn't sure whether it be Women's Network. But I am very glad that I put "action" in it.

WAN is managed by the project method. That is, those who raise their hands will do it. This year, we had a lot of newcomers. And then we also started the WAN Future Vision Committee. We are planning to reach a conclusion by the next election, which will be next year. In this sense, I really feel that it is a time of generational change, and young people in their 20s and 30s are taking actions such as NO YOUTH NO JAPAN, Voice Up Japan, FIFTYS (PROJECT), etc.

We will have the nationwide local elections this year. I would like to see politicians included in the career options for women. Although it is a fixed-term job, it is better than a temporary employment (Hiseiki). I sincerely hope that more and more female candidates will appear in the local elections, and that women will change Japanese politics from the local level.

I look forward to your continued support for WAN this year. Be well, everyone.

(Translated by Miho Tajima, Jan 01, 2023)