About For Empowering Women

By For Empowering Women
September 24, 2013

FEW (For Empowering Women in Japan) has a long, rich history spanning more than 30 years and empowering hundreds of women in and outside of Japan to reach their personal and professional potential.

Photo Sep 11, 21 17 02 cropped

Elyse Rogers and Jane Waugh, two American women working in Japan, met at a social gathering in 1981 and talked about how they missed the networking and business associations they had enjoyed when they worked in the United States. They realized that there must be other foreign career women in Tokyo with similar feelings, and together they decided to begin an organization for foreign working women in Tokyo.

Truly the “few” back in 1981, the organization was established with about a dozen members, with programs addressing the problems and concerns of actively working foreign women in Japan. After it had formalized, the group first attracted media attention with an article in the Wall Street Journal in the early 80s. FEW—which stood for Foreign Executive Women until 2008—worked to create a space for international women in Tokyo to learn and connect. The group also formed a Kansai chapter, which meets monthly in Osaka.

The organization has grown over more than 20 years and nine presidents, attracting women from many industries and backgrounds. As more and more internationally minded Japanese women showed an interest in the network, in 2008 the motion was passed to make two changes that would serve to diversify membership. The first was to open membership to Japanese women. The second was to change the name to FEW: For Empowering Women in Japan.

FEW has regular monthly meetings, usually every second Thursday of the month. There is time for networking at each event and special events offer more opportunities to connect, learn and have fun. Programs are selected to cover a wide range of topics from the arts, to learning and development, to business. FEW event information can be found on the organization’s official website.

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