Inspire Inclusion

IWD Syaka Miyabayashi

Inclusion. It’s a word I hear often and see on social media, but what does “inclusion” actually mean? What does it look like? The International Women's Day website1 offers a hopeful description that pertains to this: “When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.” But before we can forge that world, we need to understand the true meaning of the word "inclusion." Is it happening? Do YOU feel Included?  Perhaps the IWD’s statement about what it means to truly inspire inclusion offers a clue: “To inspire inclusion means to celebrate diversity and empowerment on International Women's Day 2024 and beyond. International Women's Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Each year, this day serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made towards gender equality and highlights the work that still needs to be done.”2

The "Inspire Inclusion" theme of IWD 2024 sparked a reflection on my own inclusion journey, revealing how navigating cultural nuances, language barriers, and unspoken expectations amplifies the quest for true belonging and acceptance.  I hope my story will resonate with you and inspire others to forge a more inclusive world.

I moved to the US 5 years ago to join KIOXIA America as an expatriate from our Japanese parent company. Having grown up in Japan for my whole life and working deeply for a long time in a Japanese corporate culture, everything in my new home was new and shocking. Different work culture, different ways of how the meetings are run, unfamiliar social dynamics, and subtle nuances of wording not listed in my vocabulary books coupled with fast English speakers made it difficult for me to find my place. I was not very sure of what I know or don’t know or what is okay or not okay. I was quite nervous and I did not know how to make myself look like I was doing well.

However, soon I found myself surrounded by a very supportive environment. I realized my team embraced multicultural perspectives and valued my knowledge and experience of working with our parent company.  My colleagues invited me to lunches, dinners, and other various events outside of work. These interactions made me feel included and allowed me to get to know people from different backgrounds. I am very appreciative to those who showed that they care about me in various ways, even just by chitchatting while we waited for coffee to brew.

Additionally, I was asked to join KAI’s women’s affinity group, LeadHERs, where I was able to learn more about American customs and create bonds that extend beyond professional boundaries. This group has also given me a different perspective on women’s inclusion in the workplace. 5 years ago I would have never imagined being part of such a group.

Japan, my home country and KIOXIA’s home base, boasts rich cultural and traditional values, which, is a source of strength in many areas. However, there is still much progress that can be made to close the equality gap.

KIOXIA is has not always been an exception for this. When I joined the company there were many female employees, however their presence rarely translated into managerial roles. Top executive positions were almost exclusively held by men.

The good news is KIOXIA has been making significant strides to combat this situation, so the current landscape is much different from the one I joined years ago and it continues to make significant progress.  As of August 1, 2023, the percentage of managerial roles held by women almost doubled compared to 2019 and the company has ongoing goals to increase gender equality in leadership.   Additionally, similar to KIOXIA America’s LeadHERs, KIOXIA Corporation now has its own women’s group called the “Eucalyptus Group”. This group continues to grow and includes male allies, and proposes various measures to transform the workplace into a more attractive environment for women. While there is still a lot to accomplish, it makes me hopeful that these positive changes are paving the way for a more equitable future in Japan and beyond.

Ultimately, inclusion is not just a women's issue; it's not just about breaking barriers for women. Inclusion involves challenging traditional stereotypes, expanding one’s view, and fostering collaboration with diverse perspectives. It ensures that everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or any other characteristic, have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed. By creating a space where all voices are heard, respected, and empowered, we foster true collaboration, unlock individual potential, paving the way for a more vibrant and successful workplace. Limiting our perspectives to one viewpoint stifles innovation. The journey towards inclusion will look different across countries and cultures. Embracing diversity and inclusion is a collective effort, with benefits extending far beyond individual experiences and the workplace.

Together, united in our differences, we will build a brighter future where everyone, regardless of background, can thrive.



The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of KIOXIA America, Inc.

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