Pushing the glass ceiling for women
“Despite growing up in Tokyo, home to towering skyscrapers and the world’s most advanced technology, the difficulty of breaking through the glass ceiling was all too familiar to me.”
“Even as recent as four years ago, workplaces in Japan were still very male-dominated. Women were traditionally thought to fill in the roles of assistants, and we had to fight very hard to be promoted.” Mirei says. “You had to basically think and act like a man.”
This is why Mirei will always remember the day she was offered a middle management role as a Legal and Compliance Associate Director in JLL. She had previously been working as a legal specialist for five years but this job offer showed Mirei that JLL was a forward-looking organization – one that looks beyond traditional gender stereotypes.
“It was quite a powerful moment to me. This proves that there will be absolutely no barriers in promoting the individual if you’re skilful and up to the task,” she says.
So she took on the challenge.
The vibrant and welcoming atmosphere at JLL was immediately distinct from the patriarchal work cultures she was used to. It helped ease into the new leadership role better, and she decided that she should focus on her strengths as a female. “It’s important to recognize and appreciate that men and women are different. Instead of competing against each other, it is much better if we team up and let our unique personalities and traits shine and work together,” Mirei says. “At the end of the day, being a woman should not be an excuse for not speaking up.”
In fact, Mirei believes she has learnt much from fellow working women she encountered. “I learnt to command respect as a lady, to speak up and be heard – essential skills to not just for women, but anyone who desires to be part of a cohesive team,” she remarks.
Her confidence and communication skills have been a boost for her career. Today, Mirei is not just involved in day-to-day legal work, she’s also been given the opportunity to work on Project Japan House, a government initiative with JLL to bring Japanese culture overseas, which allows her to introduce her love for her culture to others.
“The open culture and flat structure in JLL has helped me take on these different tasks better as I get to interact and work hand-in-hand with management as well as engage with designers on the creative aspects.”
“These past four years has shown me that I am not just an employee in the Legal team, but a member of an entrepreneurial, inclusive, and supportive company,” she sums up.
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