To proactively encourage gender equality in childcare, the Sony Group has further expanded its measures for supporting the balance between childcare and work from this fiscal year.
The Sony Group in Japan has long been expanding its initiatives for making it easier for employees who are raising children to take childcare leave In addition to its systems for supporting the work-life balance, these include seminars on balancing work and parenting, returning to work, roundtable discussions among those involved, and the Iku Boss seminar for supervisors. The aim is to enlighten employees balancing work and childcare, their workplace supervisors and their colleagues. As a result, the ratio of female employees who return to work after childcare leave is now over 95%, and more male employees are taking one-year childcare leave and leave in turn with their partners according to their respective family circumstances.
Looking ahead, it is vital from a longer term perspective to create an environment where even more employees can continue working while balancing childcare and work. We believe it is necessary for partners to start the parenting process together at the same time as a family to ensure the burden of childcare and housework does not fall on just one person, thus enabling them to gain experience together and participate proactively in childcare. To this end, we have significantly renewed our existing measures this year. We are further expanding the scope of our support by creating opportunities for the employees involved as well as their partners, workplace supervisors, and colleagues to reconsider their preconceived notions about parenting. This includes providing video content of the experiences of employees who have taken childcare leave and forums where the Sony Group's employees who are balancing work and childcare can consult such employees.
Part One introduces seminars and videos with even more extensive content.
On July 13, 2023, we held a seminar entitled Work-Life Balance Strategies for the Current Child-Rearing Generation 2023 with a view to raising awareness of childcare participation among both men and women and supporting long-term career continuity. The seminar was attended online by employees who themselves or their partners are pregnant or facing imminent childbirth, and their workplace management.
Director of the Gap Resolution Research Japan Co., Ltd. (GRRJ), board member of the NPO Fathering Japan, and a certified public accountant.
He has given numerous lectures and provided consulting services to many companies, labor unions, and local governments on human resources development, and work-style and management reforms. He is the father of three children and took paternity leave for each of them.
He is also a member of the Japanese Cabinet Office's Liaison Conference for the Promotion of Gender Equality and a judge for the Nikkei DUAL (media for working mothers and fathers) ranking of companies that support families with two working parents.
The first part of the session was a lecture by Manabu Tsukagoshi. He started by introducing his own personal experience of how taking childcare leave and participating in housework and childcare led to the continuation of his partner's career. He spoke about how the environment surrounding the child-rearing generation is changing with the times, and why female and male employees, management, and companies all need to change both their awareness and the structure of family careers. He also explained the physical, psychological, and environmental changes that affect women before and after childbirth, as well as the difficulties of raising a newborn. He described how important it is for male partners to take paternity leave, participate in housework and childcare, and raise children as a member of the team that makes up the family unit.
The second part of the session entitled a Strategy Meeting to Achieve a Balance between Childcare and Work through Team Parenting was held for employees who are pregnant or facing imminent childbirth and their partners. Participants were divided into groups and engaged in Landmine Work for Couples to think about building good relationships as the foundations for their team as partners, as well as Traps and Tricks for Sharing Childcare and Housework to visualize a team system for sharing childcare, housework, ideas and innovations. The contents of the 20-minute group talk were shared among the participants, and Mr. Tsukagoshi commented on the working themes of building good relationships with partners and sharing childcare and housework as couples.
A survey of the participants showed that a majority thought the seminar provided an opportunity to think about the nature of their careers and systems for balancing work and childcare. Other comments from participants included: "I reaffirmed the importance of cooperation among couples and partners in working together as a childcare team;" "I gained renewed awareness that men's work-styles are changing and that winning the understanding of workplace colleagues is the key to gaining support for balancing work and childcare;" and "I came to understand the need to be flexible in changing one's response according to different stages of childcare."
We have released a video internally entitled Recommending Fathers' Childcare Leave, which includes the comments of those who have actually taken childcare leave. It is aimed at male employees of the Sony Group who are hesitant to take childcare leave because they don't know anyone close by who has taken it or are not sure if they can gain the understanding of their bosses and colleagues. This video can be viewed repeatedly at any time. We will continue to reflect the voices of people who have taken childcare leave in various situations and positions.
In Part Two, we will introduce actual experiences and our internal community, which are new this fiscal year.