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Tuesday, 18th June 2013
In General Japan News,

Women scientists in Japan hampered by image problem

Science subjects are suffering from an image problem among Japan's female population, according to one student at Aoyama Gakuin University.

In an interview with the New York Times, Junko Tsuchiyagaito, who studies chemistry at the college, suggested that the issue is so bad she often lies about the subject she takes.

"The image of women in science is that of someone whose hair is dishevelled and who does not care about beauty. Men think they are not cute," she said.

Toshio Maruyama, executive vice president for education and international affairs at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, suggests that action needs to be taken to reverse this negative stereotyping.

"With the population shrinking, we need to tap into women in order to generate capable engineers in the future."

It's not just in science that women are not well represented; politics, it seems, is ruled by men in Japan.

Bloomberg recently reported that despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stating that women should account for 30 per cent of senior positions in all areas of society by 2020, there are few in his own party. It stated that in the Liberal Democatic Party, just nine out of 79 candidates are women.

According to the World Economic Forum's global gender gap report, Japan comes in at 101st on a list of countries.

The report states that "although no country has yet achieved gender equality, all of the Nordic countries, with the exception of Denmark, have closed over 80 per cent of the gender gap and thus serve as models and useful benchmarks for international comparisons".

Asia and the Pacific meanwhile, which includes Japan, has just 66 per cent of the gender gap closed and comes fifth out of six regions in the overall scoring system.

Countries and areas were scored over various areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

Since the previous report, Japan has fallen three places in the rankings and the study puts this down to "a small decrease in the percentage of women parliamentarians and the decrease of the sex ratio at birth".

Written by  Graham McPherson

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Report reveals Japanese women continue smoking in pregnancy (5th February 2013)
Japanese women struggling to balance work with children, survey reveals (18th December 2012)
Japan to host the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup (14th February 2012)
OECD report shows high gender pay gap in Japan (21st December 2012)