Sakiko SHIRATORI | UTokyo D&I Support Messages

September 2, 2022

― UTokyo D&I Campaign 2022 ―

The University of Tokyo has launched a campaign aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, and making the university a place where people from diverse backgrounds can thrive. The initiative, called UTokyo D&I Campaign 2022, started in March 2022. In this series, we present messages of support we received from individuals who endorse our D&I initiatives.

Support Messages

Sakiko SHIRATORI, Senior Researcher, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences

It’s been more than 20 years since I graduated from the University of Tokyo and started working. It was a time when women’s advancement in society was making progress and it was no longer rare for women to be hired in management-track positions. But looking back now, I think women had the expectation that we would be able to devote ourselves to work without any constraints. So, I wasn’t concerned about this at first, but after changing jobs, studying abroad, and raising two children both in Japan and overseas, I became aware of the barriers that confront you when special circumstances become part of the equation. Should I push myself to hang in there, or give up? I found it difficult to have successful women who had found a way to balance their careers and homes to lead robust lives serve as role models for me because they were just too extraordinary.

Currently, I’m working on problems of global food systems including nutrition at a national research institute. It’s not all smooth sailing, but I try to do things at my own pace. I feel the pathways to women’s advancement created by our forerunners have now widened, and we can envision a society where people in all kinds of circumstances can be themselves and realize their ambitions. I fully support the University of Tokyo’s commitment to D&I.

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