WAW! – The World Assembly for Women – is an annual public forum dedicated to empowering women worldwide. The forum brings together leaders in government, business, and academia from both Japan and overseas to discuss issues around gender equality and incite positive change in society.

Women’s empowerment across and beyond borders

To promote the forum and its cause abroad, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a video online featuring women collectively pronouncing the word ‘WAW!’ On Facebook, the video proved particularly successful with an impressive 28k views. This is likely due to a number of factors. The Japanese Embassy in the USA Facebook page has a larger following than that of the WAW! Facebook page, so using this platform to reach a wider audience was a wise approach. The content itself is also compelling – close ups of women from diverse backgrounds creates a humanising effect, while the music adds a lively touch. Further, while the tone is light-hearted and slightly alternative; it does manage to convey a serious message.

The video can be seen as part of a broader public diplomacy initiative on the part of the Japanese government – an attempt to change perceptions about Japan’s attitude towards women in society and to position Japan at the forefront of the global effort to promote women’s empowerment. By sharing this short but effective video on their Facebook page, the Japanese Embassy in the USA has both raised the profile of the forum and contributed to creating a more positive impression of Japan abroad on the subject of gender equality. WAW! is above all about encouraging women to realise their potential and this is certainly the message that prevails as the video draws to an end.

Lessons for organizations:

  • Use short, creative and impactful videos and share them on social media as part of a wider communications strategy e.g. to promote and complement physical events.
  • Collaborate with prominent figures or large Embassies and make use of popular social media accounts.
  • Engage your target audience through compelling content and encourage them to join the discussion with questions and relevant hashtags. Remember to consider local specificities.
  • Provide information and a call to action at the end of your video.