World in You × Org series interviews mission-driven organizations working to address various social issues. We will first feature several organizations empowering women in the workplace.

This article is a summary of the interview. For the complete interview, please visit our YouTube channel. (YouTube is in Japanese.)

Our 3rd interview features Aya Tanaka, Chairman and CEO of the NPO Mamawork and Work Step Co., Ltd.

(Interviewer: Yuko Mishiro, original Japanese article written by Rumi Onuma, summarized and translated by Tomoko Hamaji )


Experiencing Burnout from Balancing Responsibilities and the Voices of 201 Moms Seeking Reemployment

Mamawork was established in 2012 as a supporter for mothers who wish to work authentically while raising children. Its vision aims for a society where both childcare and work are valued equally, while its mission is to create opportunities for mothers to work in ways that align with their true selves.

The institute was founded based on the personal experience of its founder, who struggled to balance childcare, household chores, and work after returning to work post-childbirth.

Recognizing the potential of mothers during the childcare phase, a survey conducted in 2010 revealed that 54% of mothers left their jobs after childbirth, while 86% desired to re-enter the workforce.

To address the situation where many capable mothers were unable to work despite their qualifications and experience, action was taken.


Mamawork’s Projects

Mamawork School

We provide learning opportunities (such as computer skills, balancing work and parenting, communication skills, and networking events) for women who wish to re-enter the workforce. This is done in collaboration with the government, utilizing community centers and spaces near train stations.

Mama Volante Training Course

As the next step, this course is designed for women who want to work more robustly. It was launched as a regional women's empowerment model by the Cabinet Office. The aim is for women to take on flexible roles, such as back-office tasks for startup companies during their child-rearing years, and eventually become leaders as their children grow older and the companies expand.

Just like the 'volante' role in soccer, we hope that moms who act as central figures at home will also become leaders in the workplace.

Mama Draft Meeting

This event provides a platform for women who want to work to present their career backgrounds, community activities, skills gained from parenting, and preferred working styles to gathered companies, potentially meeting their future employers.

We also offer a pre-event training program called "120% Charm UP Training" to help participants prepare for their speeches.

So far, we have held events in Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Tokyo, and Yamaguchi, as well as online events involving seven prefectures in Kyushu. This year marks our 20th event.


To Accomplish What an NPO Cannot, Work Step Co., Ltd. Was Also Established

We have created opportunities for learning and for women to meet companies. However, we realized that to reach actual employment, it is necessary to sort out specific conditions and align expectations, which is difficult through direct negotiation between women and companies. Therefore, to obtain a license for employment placement services and serve as an intermediary, we established Work Step Co., Ltd. in 2017 to support the NPO’s activities.

Work Step’s vision is to create a society where people can demonstrate their abilities despite various constraints, and its mission is to develop customized career steps.


Supporting Regions with Few Players: Broad-Based Assistance Rather Than Focused Interventions

As a group comprising two organizations, we are able to provide more comprehensive services tailored to career stages, collaborating with local authorities to connect women and businesses across a wider region beyond Fukuoka.



(Extracted from the presentation material of Mamawork / Work Step)


The 2016 SROI (Social Return on Investment) measurement highlighted the significant value of women's career support to the regional economy across Kyushu. The Mama Branch Courses, if implemented in all seven prefectures of Kyushu, were estimated to generate a social value of 10.1 billion yen annually. This achievement earned us an award from the Kyushu Economic Research Association.

Currently, there are 170,000 potential female workers in Kyushu, Yamaguchi, and Okinawa. We are advancing various initiatives in these regions to support these women.

"Fukuoka Joshigoto," a job media platform, launched in 2022 to cater to those who wish to work "authentically" despite time constraints. It provides information on companies offering part-time-to-full-time transitions, telecommuting, and leadership roles.

Looking ahead, we aim to address Japan's gender gap by creating mechanisms for women returning to work through reskilling. In regions with few support initiatives, despite favorable childcare environments, we aim to expand partnerships for comprehensive support.

We also strive to enhance both social impact and business outcomes, encouraging women, often lacking in confidence, to take the first step towards realizing their potential and progressively achieving their career goals.

In the future, we plan to further integrate local and online initiatives, leveraging partnerships to connect women with industries and contribute to local economic growth.





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