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Feature LEANING IN - THE POWER OF WOMENOMICS - Interview: Makiko Arima Japan’s contribution to gender equality and the empowerment of women Makiko Arima: president of the Japan National Committee for UN Women MARINA TOKORO M AKIKO Arima, president of the Japan National Committee for UN Women, is one of the country’s foremost experts in the field of women’s rights and international development, and is equally knowledgeable in the areas of children’s safety, health and education. For more than a decade, she served as the Japanese government’s representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. We spoke with her about advocating gender equality and Japan’s contributions to the cause. 6 | highlighting japan The advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women have long been focal points for Japan and the international community, perhaps most clearly outlined in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). How would you assess progress in this area to date? The MDGs are eight global objectives that address concerns from eradicating poverty to curtailing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Gender equality is also put forth as one of the world’s primary concerns, but the topic is in no way exclusive to the others. All of the issues are interrelated and connected to the problems faced by women and children around the world. In fact, 70 percent of those in poverty are said to be women. The strategic promotion of gender equality, the eradication of poverty – all of these concerns must be tackled simultaneously. The promotion of gender equality has progressed most in recent years within the realm of primary education, which is the second of the eight goals. For instance, according to the according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)