For Haruno Yoshida, co-chair of the Women 20 (W20) committee, a G20 engagement group, female empowerment is something like the construction behind Nara Prefecture's famed ancient wooden Horyuji Temple.

Using a combination of naturally shaped, organic and nonuniform materials — some having become sun-warped and weathered over time — without changing their form, ancient carpenters designed and built the grand monument that dates back to 607 A.D., with the temple, the world's oldest surviving wooden structure, and its compound now registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

"I think a truly sustainable society with diversity is something similar to this ancient method of architecture," Yoshida told The Japan Times in a recent interview ahead of the G20 Summit slated to begin Friday in Osaka. "In such a society, women should not be forced to change nor behave like men. Just like curved wood, a combination of different individuals, each with unique features, can make up a strong society that can continue for more than a 1,000 years."