National

Students suggest policies to increase female scientists

Kyodo

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.

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