Image credit: Andrea ViCenzo for The New York Times
ONLY 20% OF WOMEN ARE ADMITTED INTO JAPANESE MOST ELITE UNIVERSITIES.
THE IMPARITY TREND AS HAPPENED IN UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES NOW
THE DEARTH IS ATTRIBUTED TO INEQUALITY AND STEREOTYPE IN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES IN JAPAN
FEW WOMEN MAKE IT TO THE GOVERNMENT AS A RESULT DESPITE PRIME MINISTER ABE’S INTERVENTION PROGRAMME
Not more than one out of every five female students are admitted for study into Japanese top colleges including the University of Tokyo and Todai, two of the most elite universities in Japan although women make up nearly half the nation’s undergraduate population. This has happened for nearly two decades at the University of Tokyo.
The imparity is regarded as reflecting and magnifying a lackluster record in elevating women to the most powerful reaches of society. Among seven publicly funded national institutions, women make up just over one quarter of undergraduates. At the reserved private universities like Keio and Waseda, women are a little over a third.
The scarcity of women at Todai and University of Japan is a byproduct of deep-seated gender inequality and stereotype in Japan, where women still hold themselves back from educational opportunities, consequently not expected to achieve as much as men.
Even though an agenda for female empowerment as promoted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe boasting Japan’s labour force participation rate among women has outranked the United States, yet few women make it to the executive suite or the highest levels of government.
Speaking this year to freshmen at Todai, Chizuko Ueno, a retired professor of gender studies described the imbalance and discrimination as a symptom of inequality that had extended beyond higher education and referred to a scandal where administrators at Tokyo Medical University acknowledged suppressing the entrance-exam scores of female applicants for years in an attempt to limit the proportion of women to 30 percent, claiming that female doctors were likely to stop working after getting married or giving birth. Women’s scores were said to have surpassed those of the men a year after the scandal was revealed.
Japanese universities lag other selective institutions across Asia. Women are close to half of the student body at Peking University in China, 40 percent of Seoul National in South Korea and 51 percent of the National University of Singapore.