Many female doctors at large hospitals operating around the clock have no choice but to put their careers on hold when they become pregnant or give birth, and eventually end up quitting without being able to gain further experience.

To change this, Chizuko Kuwae, 66, an obstetrician and gynecologist who has been raising awareness of the issue for more than a decade, set up her own clinic in Hachioji in western Tokyo in June to provide a place where such women can continue working.

After graduating from Shinshu University in Nagano Prefecture, Kuwae worked at a number of large hospitals in Tokyo. After having two children, she went on to become head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Medical Center and the National Hospital Organization Disaster Medical Center.