In this special edition of our podcast “Inside the World Economic Forum” we focus on International Women’s day and the issue of gender parity across the globe. The World Economic Forum with the support of our strategic partner Ernst & Young has launched an online tool for companies to accelerate their progress in closing gender gaps.

Pictured: Aozora Bank managing executive officer Michiko Achilles (C) talks with her subordinates at the bank headquarter in Tokyo November 5, 2008. Achilles blasted through the “iron ceiling” that blocks many Japanese women’s careers when she became a director at a bank this year, but an international survey shows her compatriots are falling behind. She is among a handful of women breaking new ground. In September, Yuriko Koike became the first woman to stand for the leadership of the main ruling party and this week Naoko Yamazaki was picked as the second Japanese woman to go into space.