Japan National Chapter member POLA is implementing initiatives to overcome obstacles to social progress and help drive the unstereotype mandate in Japan. The POLA Beyond Action initiative includes a variety of activities under four focus areas:
- Gender equality
To contribute to the gender equality pillar, POLA has embarked on supporting GENCOLLEGE, a program that empowers the next generation of leaders to lead the way to a future of gender equality.
Many young Japanese people report that they are concerned about gender issues yet they face obstacles to address them. Currently, there are limited opportunities to study gender issues in depth, few have a community to discuss them with, and without a clear way to resolve these issues, they are unable to take action. GENCOLLEGE was created for young people to study gender issues with a team of Japanese instructors comprised of scholars and experts in the field of gender equality and women’s empowerment, to learn practical ways to resolve gender-based issues.
As a sponsor of GENCOLLEGE, POLA will empower 35 prospective next-generation leaders by October 2022. Participants of the program are currently studying gender issues to create a strategy to achieve gender equality for the future.
To foster gender equality awareness through education, POLA has also created a gender education pamphlet for elementary and junior high school students which are distributed via POLA shops.
In Japan, children learn about “masculinity” and “femininity” from those around them, which contributes to forming their own beliefs and values. With an objective to close the gender gap at this formative age, POLA has created an original booklet called “Gender Instruction for Teenagers”. This has been created for elementary and junior high school students to help them understand and identify from an early age what stereotypes, prejudices and issues exist in relation to gender.
The gender education pamphlet has been distributed across 30,000 elementary and junior high schools throughout Japan as well as POLA shops. The booklet can be used as reference material to support teachers and help solidify the foundation of gender equality for the future.