Students suggest policies to increase female scientists


A group of university students on Wednesday handed the government some policy proposals for achieving its stated goal of increasing the ratio of female scientists in Japan to 30 percent by 2020.

Eight science majors, including five past winners of fellowships from UNESCO and Nihon L’Oreal K.K., the Japanese unit of the world’s largest cosmetics maker, L’Oreal S.A. of France, presented the policy proposals to Masako Mori, minister for gender equality, at an awards ceremony for this year’s winners at the French Embassy.

The proposals include obliging science faculties across Japan to employ at least one female professor to increase the number of female role models in science, creating more suitable environments for women at research laboratories and better informing potential science major candidates about life in research.

Mori said it is “indispensable to boost the number of role models and mentors” for female scientists and pledged to carry out measures to help women continue pursuing their careers after giving birth.

At present, women make up just 13.6 percent of the scientists in Japan, the lowest among 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based club of economically advanced nations.

  • Starviking

    Here’s a better idea: review family and female unfrendly working conditions. It’s no use requiring a certain percentage of female scientists in an organisation if the environment in that organisation is hostile to women.

  • Rolo

    That will be the first logical step, yes! Instead of working until 23pm every night without being able to produce more than done in western part of the world – where people work 6 hours less – making the company structure more flexible would help creating a balance for families. Start hiring mid-career woman and men and creat a more equal salary between both genders.

    Get rid of 50% of all the incompetent old conservative company/politic leaders, who is afraid of actually implementing the advanced technology that Japan has. Just look how Japan companies still use fax machines as their main commmunication device – something given up in the rest of the world 33 years ago. Instead the waste time stamping paper and fold to send to customers.

    I like Japan, but at the same time I don’t understand how a country which such advance technology don’t use it to improve life but in stead on warm seat in toilet etc. Living comfort is very low in Japan compare to being an advanced nation.

    Maybe some more ambiguous female scientist cold help kick this slow moving turtle in the right direction. Cuz how is things loonking now for the country? Not very good thinking about how much time spend improving it. Maybe a large amount of incompetence from leaders and the Japanese system in General. I cannot mention any Japanese leader of an international organization…maybe because the are not raised to act fast or think by themselfs too much but take orders and focus more on saving face etc. Tepco’s way of handling the disaster is a good example of this lack of skill.

  • But what if 13.6% is the actual percentage when it comes to Japanese women who want to be scientists?

    At what percentage would everyone sit back, take a breath and say, “We did it!” 20%? 30%? 40%? 50%? More?

    And if it’s okay to socially engineer the culture when it comes to scientists, where do I submit my petition to get the political muscle to ensure women comprise 50% of the fisherman, street-sweepers and sewage cleaners of Japan?

    Why should men get all the cushy jobs of civilization? After all, the goal IS equality.

    Speaking of that, let’s make sure we equalize the suicide rate too. More than 71% of suicides are male. That’s a unacceptable patriarchal situation. Why should men get to hog all the pain and suffering. Let’s start a political campaign to bring women up to an equal 50%.

    It’s only fair, right?