October 11th is International Girls’ Day, a day to think about the issues facing young women. This week we bring you the voices of the members of Candlewick, a company where women are making a difference. Let’s begin with Ms. Bruce!

At Candlewick, each team member has a unique and flexible way of working, even when we are in different phases of our lives.

When I talk about my identity, the first thing that comes to mind is that I am a mother of four boys. Between raising my mischievous sons and accompanying my husband on his relocation abroad, my days were hectic, and there were times when I chose to leave my job. I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I wanted to work but that I had made my own choices, and I wanted to live my life to the fullest but still do it well.

On International Girls’ Day, as a girl who has grown up (an ‘ex-girl’), I would like to share what our company CEO once told me: “There are many things in life. To be who you want to be, you just need to be well prepared.” That’s it. There are times when we feel rushed to make choices that are not ideal, but we have a lot of time to prepare in the long run.

Next is Ms. Miura!

Nowadays, it is normal for women to work, but when I first started working, it was common for women to quit their jobs after marriage and concentrate on their families. In addition, women who worked without getting married were stereotyped as those who “worked like a man” and prioritized their careers over their families.

When I look at my colleagues who are now working at Candlewick and adapting their working style to their own stages of life, I am reminded that, because we can choose how we work, we live in a wonderful age where we can have both a family and a career.

With COVID-19, remote work has become the norm, and work styles are becoming more diverse, so I hope to see more opportunities for women to be active.

Lastly from Candlewick’s CEO Ms. Silvester!

What is the difference between International Women’s Day and International Girls Day? Of course, both were established by the United Nations. In Japanese, the word “child” is not translated, which makes things even more complicated. In English, you can still be a ‘Girl!’ even when you’re a grandmother.

Without getting too complicated, I would like to talk about the privileges that I, as the oldest member of the company, have received as a girl since I was a child. When I was born in the post-war generation in the early 1960s, it was still men who were considered head of the household. Even as the eldest daughter, there was a sense that the younger brother would take over, even if he were younger.
My father kept telling me, “You’re a girl, so you can do whatever you want.” Haha. He meant that I wouldn’t inherit the family’s responsibility, get engaged, and get married. I took what he said at his word, and pretty much did whatever I wanted.
What career path to take… what things I can do… what can I study; I was able to explore my interests for quite a while. Consequently, I am now running my own company, a job that I never imagined in my childhood. I am now financially independent. Life is full of irony! 

Looking back now, I think what was important was that I always visualised what lifestyle I wanted to lead. And now, it’s more than I could have imagined, if not exactly what I was aiming for! ”Girls, visualise your dreams!”

Photo: From a memorial photo of Ms. Kanetaka from a TV show which inspired me as a young girl: “Kaoru Kanetaka: A Journey Around the World,”