Hello to everyone who is participating in the Women’s March on this International Women’s Day. My name is Yayo Okano, a faculty member of Doshisha University Graduate School, and I am one of the directors of the certified NPO Women’s Action Network (WAN).

At this year’s Women’s March, women from four locations— Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Kumamoto— connect with each other and raise our voices. At the same time, we can connect with people throughout the country online. I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude for the efforts that the organizers have made. Thank you for creating this venue.

It’s been one year, but the corona crisis is far from over. The measures against the pandemic and the continuing gaffes around the Olympic Games—the underlying issues of Japanese politics are now extra burdens that have been shoved onto women’s shoulders, who are in vulnerable positions in Japanese society.

Now that many are “woke” to social problems, I think that 2021 will be the new 2000, which means it’s the time for us to start new politics for the 21st century. In that sense, I think it’s very meaningful to spend this International Women’s Day in solidarity not only with women from Japan but from beyond its borders. In order to survive in a society that oppresses them, women have been forced into challenging positions, in which they resist while simultaneously accommodating. Some women thrive even in this male dominant society, so we would remain weak if we were united only with women in the same boat; therefore, women have been fighting in a war of words across borders, across cultures, and sometimes across generations. As one of WAN’s directors, I would like to celebrate this memorable International Women’s Day with you today.

WAN is a movement that started in order to show our solidarity by putting women’s activities, actions, and expressions that won’t grab the mainstream media’s attention together in one place. On SNS, we sometimes encounter heartless criticism just because we are women. We would like to keep offering a platform where women can safely opine. For example, regarding the remarks of Mr. Mori, the former Tokyo Olympics chief, we have put together statements and articles by organizations and academic societies; you can see them at a glance on our website.

So, everyone, let’s keep raising our voices together, for today’s power, tomorrow’s survival, and continuing revolution!