Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Views From Tokyo: What do you think about the Tokyo Medical University test scandal?

by Kunio Kanamori

Contributing Writer

Women in the capital were asked about their feelings about the gender discrimination in the medical school exam-fixing case and the situation where they live and work.

Aisa Miyamoto
Newspapers, 38 (Japanese)

I feel that there are only a few female doctors in the hospital department where I usually go for treatment. A male doctor doesn’t necessarily give better treatment, which I understand was one assumption behind fixing the ratio of men and women in this case.

The company I worked in before was so old-fashioned that there were no female bosses. In my current workplace, the boss is a woman and there is a feeling that she will change the old system.

Gender equality is important. In a past job, I knew a boss in her 50s who worked more than the men but couldn’t go further due to her gender. That is very unreasonable. In Taiwan, which is close to Japan, women who do their best are given suitable positions according to their efforts.

Christina Thach
Biomedical engineer, 26 (French)

In France, if this kind of problem is discovered, it would be considered discrimination, become a national scandal.

The ratio of doctors is about 50-50. In the future the number of female doctors will increase further. A woman can return to work one year — six months with pay, the rest without — after giving birth. However, there is still an invisible barrier for women, who have to go through pregnancy.

The ratio of male to female directors is likely 70-30 in my company. There is also inequality in terms of salary, with males (in France) earning 20 percent more.

Pursuing equality will lead to the happiness of future Japan. With gender equality, women can contribute more to society and enjoy family life more.

Yuki Shinha
Media, 28 (Japanese)

It’s strange that the situation has only gradually come to light. I wonder if the school officials knew about this all along. Apart from the issue of gender discrimination, what the university did was illegal and must not be tolerated.

In my company, the atmosphere in terms of the power dynamic between men and women has been improving and there are quite a lot of role models of dynamic women.

I don’t know the male-female ratio for executives, but I think that there are more men. However, my boss is a woman and there are other female bosses, too.

Many women are returning to work after pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing. People work differently, too. It’d be ideal if you could work according to your personal lifestyle.

Chira Roggia, 33
Schoolteacher (Italian)

How will the university deal with female students who failed due to the exam-fixing?

Japan’s attitude to female doctors seems old-fashioned, similar to Italian in the past. Sixty years ago, there was a law that women could not return to work once they quit (to have kids). Now, most women work. But there are not so many women in Parliament and government.

In my school, all the staff are female. The executives are women, so they are respected.

Women can take parental leave for 18 months, but the government doesn’t help, so we usually leave the care to a grandmother or costly nursery.

It’s sad for women have to rely on their husband for income. The pursuit of gender equality is also necessary for the happiness in Japan.

Valerie N. Kyzar
U.S. military, 43 (American)

The news makes me very angry and upset as a woman. So many women could have had promising careers as doctors.

In the U.S., surgeons don’t need to move any heavy person physically because highly trained helpers support doctors. Therefore, it’s unnecessary to take into consideration the difference in physical strength between men and women, which was one of the reasons pointed out in Japan this time.

I think men and women are equal. Even in stamina, it’s the same. It depends on their physical condition.

The female ratio in the Marine Corps is 6 or 7 percent. I’ve known a plenty of men and women who could not handle the job physically and got out of the military. It has nothing to do with gender. You just do the job or you don’t.

Sakura Ide, 23
Office worker, 23 (Japanese)

Discrimination in entrance examinations is not good.

In my company, there are only men in upper management and my boss is male. There are some female bosses in the other sections, but it is unlikely that women will rise to high positions.

I feel frustrated as a woman that differences in terms of physical power, pregnancy and child care are grounds for discrimination, as there are plenty of competent women who work harder than men.

It is now time for women to work in society, and there are aspects where we want gender equality. However, I am a little anxious about a society where men are weakened. Among men of my generation, there are quite a few who just silently follow what women say.