Female Role Models Desperately Needed in Japan?

I was reluctant to blog about this, as I’ve spoken about women’s role in academia before.  However this THE (No. 2052, pg 19) article shocked me, so I thought I should share it.

Professor Burton, from the Bunkyo Gakuin University of Tokyo tells her first hand account of being a female academic in Japan, not only heavily outnumbered by men but frequently having to justify here presence to students.  She has been described by students as “not a real teacher” and one even stated that students had less motivation in a class taught by a woman (although stating it in his graduation thesis was bravery bordering on stupidity).  The article goes on to say that throughout society the driving force behind official changes in policies has not been an internal demand but international pressure.  Attitudes within the country have been slow to change, examples of which include influential figures such as Yoshiro Mori (ex-prime minister) who stated that women who didn’t have children shouldn’t benefit from a state pension!

I am well aware that sexism is a pretty well established form of bigotry throughout the world and not just Japan.  I also believe that the “early female brain drain” is not even unique to HE (I think it would’ve only taken one female role model when I was a teenager for me to be blogging to you about carpentry right now).  However the openness and entrenched nature of the prejudice I did find shocking; which might be a naive response, but surely the correct one.

Read the full article here.

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