WE Int., committed to lifting up women and shedding light on their work, introduces its members as part of the series #SheInspires. In this article, we introduce to you Zhiyun Du (or Zoe), a talented graphic designer and currently a student at the University of Tokyo. Zoe has been proactive in creating beautiful visuals for WE Int. events and impressed us with a professional attitude and excellent content. Do you have similar interests or want to know how Zoe developed her skills? Get to know her better from our interview below! Tell us about you
My name is Zhiyun Du. Most of my friends call me Zoe. I grew up in Shanghai, China, while I have moved and studied here in Tokyo for more than two years now. I am currently enrolled in the University of Tokyo, PEAK program, majoring in the undergraduate course of International Japanese studies.
Alongside your studies, you engage in other activities. Can you share a project you are excited about?
Besides helping with banner/poster designs for some events of WE Int, I am also a member of the Komaba Times graphic designing team. Komaba Times is an English-language magazine written by students at the University of Tokyo. My major duty now is drawing illustrations for the articles, but I will soon be in charge of the layout design when we publish the magazine’s annual volume, this year in collaboration with the New York Times.
What do you do that is important for you?
Though I have learned watercolour painting before for my high school art club activities, I only started doing digital painting and layout designs very recently after I bought an iPad and had a lot more free time staying indoor due to the outbreak of coronavirus. I am only an amateur who has a lot to learn and always feels uncertain about the quality of my work whenever starting a new project. Gradually, though, some of the fear has vanished, and I have been able to approach arts in my way. To me, painting and designing is something that makes me happy and fulfilled, hopefully, it will also bring joy to the world. This sounds like a formidable task, but I believe it’s a challenge well worth taking.
To me, painting and designing is something that makes me happy and fulfilled, hopefully, it will also bring joy to the world. This sounds like a formidable task, but I believe it’s a challenge well worth taking.
What was your motivation to WE Int.?
It was introduced by a friend, also an existing member of WE Int. She asked me if I would like to design a banner for an upcoming event of WE Int, and I said yes. I appreciate her for introducing this organization, for I have not heard about this platform before. I hope that the posters/banners I designed will attract more and more people to take part in the events organized by WE Int. On a personal level, I also hope to get to know more women who have the belief and passion to pursue gender equality and work for their ambitions.
Why do you think women’s empowerment and promoting gender equality are important?
Through observing things around me, I have noticed that it’s often to patriarchy’s advantage to exploit women’s labour in subordinate positions. On the other hand, I have also realized that even among the young generation around me, who are still studying on the university campus, entrenched and often invisible gender biases, as well as male entitlement still largely exist.
Thus, I hope to contribute to creating a society where women’s talents and ability to excel in
male-dominated arenas will not be denied. Moreover, I hope to change the misogynist social structure and prevent females from becoming their victims. I have joined a short-term gender studies program at Freie Universität, Germany. This semester, I am also taking a course on the postwar Japanese feminism movements. There is still a lot for me to learn about gender equality, and I am anticipating to participate in more events of WE Int.