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Co-sponsored by:

Ministry of Finance, Japan

Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)

Asian Development Bank

Monday, March 25th  | 3:00 – 6:00PM followed by reception

Ana Intercontinental Tokyo

1 Chome-12-33 Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0052, Japan

Event Summary

Watch Event Recording

By 2030, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 2.3 billion people will be in need of care, including children, individuals with disabilities, and, increasingly, the elderly. The ILO further estimates that 647 million adults of working age are outside the labor force due to family care responsibilities, 76% of which are women. In developing regions, women are especially burdened because of their more limited access to basic infrastructure and public services, the arduous nature of the work, and the lesser extent to which men participate in the daily requirements of unpaid care work.

Even when care work is paid, for example in the education and healthcare sectors, it continues to be undervalued and characterized by the over-representation of a female workforce, low levels of remuneration, poor working conditions, and lack of opportunities for advancement. Inadequate care infrastructure is one of the most significant barriers to women’s economic empowerment as it reinforces gender inequalities and impedes economic growth.

The Government of Japan, in collaboration with We-Fi and ADB, is organizing an event focused on the Care Economy, emphasizing the pivotal role of women entrepreneurs as providers and users of care services, as well as the creators of more resilient economies. This event aims to bring together stakeholders from both developed and developing economies to explore promoting investment and policy reforms to maximize the transformative potential of women’s economic empowerment through care.

This exclusive event will gather select participants including government representatives, policymakers, care professionals, entrepreneurs, and development practitioners to address the challenges and opportunities for women-led businesses as the need for care work increases. Together, we aim to leverage that demand with significant strides in gender equality, economic growth, and sustainable development.

3:00 – 3:10 PM: Opening Remarks and Introduction

  • SETO Takakazu, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Finance, Government of Japan
  • Wendy Teleki, Head of We-Fi Secretariat

3:10 – 3:15 PM: Welcome

  • Kaori Sasaki, Founder & CEO, ewoman Inc. (Emcee)

3:15 – 3:20 PM: Group Photo

3:20 PM – 4:30 PM: Fostering an Empowering Ecosystem for Entrepreneurs the Care Services Sector (Session One)

Moderator: Keiko Nowacka, Principal Social Development Specialist, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

3:25 – 3:40 PM: Global Policy Frameworks on Care: Where are the Policy Gaps?

  • Laura Addati, Maternity Protection and Work-Family Specialist, International Labor Organization (ILO)

3:40 – 3:55 PM: Synergies for Engagement Between Governments and Care Service Providers

  • Jasmin Thomas, Economist, Employment, Labor and Social Affairs Department, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

3:55 – 4:10 PM: Financing a National Care Infrastructure: The Case of Bangladesh

  • Nasrin Sultana, Joint Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh

4:10 – 4:30 PM: Q & A

4:30 – 4:45 PM: Networking and Coffee Break

4:45 PM – 5:55 PM: Innovative Approaches and Collaborative Solutions in the Care Landscape (Session Two - Roundtable Discussion)

Moderator: Sarah Twigg, Lead, East Asia and Pacific, Gender and Economic Inclusion, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

  • Tatiana Oprea, Director, Educational Centre for Children INGENIUM (video)
  • Katja Freiwald, Regional Lead for Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN Woman Asia and the Pacific
  • Nina Shingai, Executive Officer, CFO & Head of Corporate at Linc’well Inc.
  • Susan Nio, CEO and CTO, Love Care Indonesia

5:30 – 5:50 PM: Q & A

5:50 – 6:00 PM: Closing Remarks

  • Wendy Teleki and Kaori Sasaki

6:00 – 7:00 PM: Reception

Opening Remarks

SETO Takakazu, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Finance, Government of Japan

Prior to his current position, Mr. Seto was a member of the Standing Committee on Health, Labour and Welfare, House of Representatives. Since 2012, he has been elected three times as a member of the House of Representatives. He began his professional career at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) in 1991 and assumed various senior positions, including Director General of the Police Administration Department at the Iwate Prefectural Police Headquarters and Postmaster of the Yamaga Post Office in Kumamoto Prefecture.  He holds a Masters in Financial Engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi Secretariat

Wendy Teleki is Head of the We-Fi Secretariat, which is housed in the World Bank Group. The Secretariat is responsible for supporting the We-Fi Governing Committee in the allocation and supervision of We-Fi funding as well as communications, advocacy, and learning focused on strengthening opportunities for women entrepreneurs in collaboration with the GC, Implementing Partners and other stakeholders.  Ms. Teleki joined We-Fi in May 2019.  Prior to that, Ms. Teleki worked with the International Finance Corporation leading numerous activities and initiatives focused on small and medium enterprise development in emerging markets around the world.   This included several blended finance, investment and advisory programs, including IFC’s We-Fi program and the Global SME Finance Initiative.  Wendy has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business and an MA in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Kaori Sasaki, Founder & CEO, ewoman Inc. 

Since 1996, Ms. Sasaki has produced and chaired the International Conference for Women in Business, the largest diversity conference in Japan. Ms. Sasaki is also the founder of ewoman, Inc., an influential think tank and diversity consultancy that provides marketing, branding, product development, and training to major corporations. Through her work as a diversity expert to companies throughout Japan, she saw the need for and launched a “Diversity Index” to measure the diversity of an organization against its corporate performance and provides training to member organizations.

Ms. Sasaki currently serves on the boards of directors of KOBAYASHI Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Japan Post Co., Ltd., and AGP Corporation, and on advisory boards and management councils for several major organizations, including the National Museum of Nature and Science (Tokyo), Sony Foundation for Education, and The Internet Association of Japan. She is Chair of the JAPAN Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization (U.S.), the global organization for women, presidents, CEOs, and managing directors.

She is serving her second term as We-Fi’s  Japanese  Leadership Champion and has also served on the W20 Steering Committee and for the past two decades, has been serving on numerous Ministry councils, including the Regulatory Reform Council of the Cabinet Office (appointed by Prime Minister Abe). Ms. Sasaki has won numerous awards, including the Entrepreneur Special Award by Japan New Business Conference; the Best Mother Award, by Japan Mothers Association; and the USA’s Stevie Award for “Best Innovative Company of the year”.

Ms. Sasaki received a Bachelor of Arts from Sophia University in Tokyo and an honorary doctorate degree from Elmira College in New York.

Session One: Fostering an Empowering Ecosystem for Entrepreneurs the Care Services Sector

Keiko Nowacka, Principal Social Development Specialist, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Keiko Nowacka is a Principal Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development) in the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Department the Asian Development Bank. In this role she focuses in particular on women’s entrepreneurship and promoting the ADB’s gender mainstreaming mandate, including the gender transformative agenda in line with Strategy 2030’s Operational Priority 2. Prior to joining ADB, Keiko led the gender program at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Development Centre, where she was responsible for the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI). She has also held positions at UNESCO, where she led the first Global Report on gender and culture (2014), and focused on gender mainstreaming in the cultural and creative industries; she has also worked as an Operations Manager at Camfed, an NGO supporting secondary girls’ education in sub-Saharan Africa. She has a PhD From the University of Cambridge and is a graduate from the University of Sydney.

Laura Addati, Maternity Protection and Work-Family Specialist, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Laura Addati is a senior care policy specialist at the Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Branch, Conditions of Work and Equality Department, of the International Labour Organization (ILO). She joined the ILO in 2004 and currently coordinates global policy research and technical assistance to governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations on care policies and gender equality at work. She has co-authored a number of ILO reports and publications on care leave, childcare services and work-life balance policies, including the recent ILO major report “Care at Work: Investing in care leave and services for a more gender equal world of work” (2022). Recently, she has led the development of the “ILO Care policy investment simulator”, the largest care policy-modelling tool available online in English, French and Spanish. ). Laura has 20 years of experience within the UN system, including UNDP in Comoros Union and ILO in Central America, Geneva and New York.

Jasmin Thomas, Labour Market Economist, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Jasmin is a Canadian labour market economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). At the OECD, Jasmin’s research focuses on gender equality and social risks. She is currently working on a project for the European Commission on policy combinations to address structural gender inequalities in EU and OECD countries. She also works on the OECD’s flagship Risks that Matter survey, a cross-national survey that offers insights into people’s perceptions of short- and long-term social and economic risks; opinions on the effectiveness of government social policies; and preferences for public policy  and social protection going forward.

Nasrin Sultana, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh

Ms. Sultana serves as the Joint Secretary, Finance Division of the Ministry of Finance for the Government of Bangladesh. In her current capacity, she manages the budgets for State Owned Enterprises (SOE) and Autonomous Bodies (AB).  She previously served in the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, as well as the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, where she worked extensively on women and children’s health and nutrition issues.

Ms. Sultana is a graduate of Dhaka University, and holds a Masters degree in Social Science/Welfare.

Session Two: Innovative Approaches and Collaborative Solutions in the Care Landscape

Sarah Twigg, East Asia Pacific Lead, Gender and Economic Inclusion, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Sarah is a private sector development specialist with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. With a background spanning over 16 years in private sector operations and international development, Sarah has made significant contributions to organizations such as the International Finance Corporation, World Bank, United Nations Development Program, and as a commercial lawyer in New York and New Zealand.

In her current role, Sarah is based in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she leads IFC’s gender and economic inclusion work across East Asia and the Pacific. Her work focuses on bridging gender gaps to improve business outcomes and fostering economic development. Sarah spearheads collaborative projects with private sector partners, with a specific emphasis on enhancing women’s employment and corporate leadership opportunities, promoting women’s access to financial services and non-financial resources, and supporting women-owned businesses to grow and thrive.

She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Strategic Management and Finance and a Bachelor of Policy Management from Keio University.

Tatiana Zavtoni-Oprea, Director, Educational Centre for Children INGENIUM

Tatiana graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Moldova. She has over 10 years of experience as a training specialist and project coordinator in the field of elderly and child disabilities. Since 2013, she has founded her own business in preschool education, creating innovative education programs and building a community of parents dedicated to nurturing empathetic, tolerant, and successful children. With INGENIUM Education Center, she received an award for the best business plan in 2014 and secured a grant from the Government of Japan through IOM UN Migration for expanding organizational activities. Despite facing challenges as a female entrepreneur, Tatiana’s unwavering passion for her work and love for children continue to inspire her to find creative solutions.

Katja Freiwald, Women’s Economic Empowerment & Migration Lead, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Katja has a strong background in Business and Economics and leads UN Women Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) and Migration portfolios in Asia and the Pacific. Her leadership extends to spearheading initiatives in gender-inclusive entrepreneurship, transformative approaches to the care economy, and advancing gender-responsive business practices. Notable programs under her guidance include the Care Entrepreneurship and Women-Led Climate Tech Entrepreneurship Accelerator. Additionally, she oversees initiatives like WE RISE Together, a programme with the Australian government to promote gender-responsive procurement and the recently completed ‘WeEmpowerAsia’ programme, in partnership with the European Union that sought to increase the number of women who lead and participate in businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Central to this endeavor was mobilizing private sector companies to implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), fostering gender-responsive practices throughout their value chains.

Katja has over 15 years of experience in the private sector, notably serving as Unilever’s Director of Global Partnerships and Advocacy for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Business Development. Her extensive industry insight and leadership roles extend to various speaking engagements, panel discussions, and advisory board memberships, including Amfori, a global business association advocating for open and sustainable trade.

Nina Shingai, Executive Officer, CFO & Head of Corporate at Linc’well Inc.

Nina is the Chief Financial Officer at Linc’well Inc., a Tokyo-based healthcare IT company backed by renowned investors such as Bain Capital, DCM and Incubate Fund. The company engages in the digitization of primary care, including supporting physical smart clinics as well as providing the online platform for telehealth services. Its flagship platform “CLINIC FOR Telehealth” has become one of the largest telehealth services in Japan, serving patients across 22 categories in both out-of-pocket and insured care categories with a track record of over 3 million consultations.

She started her career at J.P. Morgan in Tokyo in 2007 and has over ten years of Investment Banking experience. Most recently at her time at Goldman Sachs, she engaged in cross border M&As, global debt/equity offerings, and shareholder advisory work primarily in the Healthcare and Financial Institutions sectors.

She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Strategic Management and Finance and a Bachelor of Policy Management from Keio University.

Susan Nio, Co-founder, CEO, and CTO of LoveCare

The co-founder, CEO and CTO of LoveCare, Susan is also the recipient of the prestigious LPDP scholarship from the Ministry of Finance, Indonesia.  Her company is a one-stop solution and innovative home care application designed to seamlessly and efficiently connect care workers with families in need. LoveCare offers comprehensive services catering to all types of care requirements, including childcare, elderly care, medical care, and more. Under Susan’s strategic and visionary leadership, LoveCare has not only won several competitions but also received a notable award from the Ministry of Health of Indonesia. Today, LoveCare  has grown to over 12,000 registered users and more than 4,000 registered caretakers across Indonesia, facilitating  over 54,000 visits. Susan’s commitment to innovation and excellence has played a pivotal role in establishing LoveCare as a beacon of innovation and care in the home care industry in Indonesia.

Susan holds an Masters of Science degree in Digital Business Enterprise Management from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.