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All eyes are on women's empowerment in Meidai

  • Read in Japanese
  • 2017/07/03

Institute of International Education and Exchange

Designated Prof. Atsuko Tsuji

Speaking of Meidai, the Nobel Prize might typically come to mind, but my Tokyo acquaintances countered with "Asia comes to mind", and even "women comes to mind." The latter response chiefly came from women. And University President Seiichi Matsuo says that topics that he was asked to talk about were the Nobel Prize and gender equality in Meidai during an interview in China last year. It seems that the university's gender equality initiative has become synonymous with Meidai here and abroad.

Meidai's efforts toward gender equality have just reached a new milestone. First, the Office for Gender Equality had been upgraded to the Center for Gender Equality in July 1. Along with its previous support work, the center will carry out research and education, and act as a hub for various activities in Japan and the rest of the world. The Gender Research Library will open at the end of October. Housing up to 40,000 gender-related books, the library is also intended to be a hub for gender research and education not just for the university, but also for Japan and beyond. The two-story building under construction along Yamanote Street in Higashiyama Campus is being built by donations.

Along with it, the Gender Equality Support Fund was launched in June with the generous help of a donor. Having personally experienced adversities, a woman donated tens of millions of yen into a fund to help raise the number of female researchers. Another fund started last year as a university fund for projects aiding the development of female leaders, and was later supplemented with donations solicited from the general public to support various projects for women in the future.

This has made me appreciate once more how Meidai is supported by the benevolence of such people and how much are expected of the university.

Appointed Director of the Center for Gender Equality, Prof. Hiroko Tsukamura of the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences specializes in reproductive science

Gender equality initiatives in Meidai date back to early this century. As the Basic Act for Gender-Equal Society in Japan was enforced in 1999, the Board of Trustees responded by passing the Recommendations for Promoting Gender Equality at Nagoya University in 2001. This was followed by the establishment of the Office for Gender Equality in 2003. As one of the earliest movers among universities in Japan, the initiative started from the top with the aim of revitalizing the university through women's empowerment. Later, increasing the number of female researchers in the sciences became a particularly hot issue. I, as a journalist, covered that issue as well, and I remember Meidai announcing that it will take positive action, that is, hiring a woman if the choices are between men and women with equal achievements. There were even some talks that this is reverse discrimination. That policy still remains to this day......> read more on the Meidai Watch

Atsuko Tsuji: Earned B.A. in Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo in 1976. Joined The Asahi Shimbun Company in 1979 as a journalist and wrote many articles in science and technology area for newspaper and magazines published by the company including editorial pieces. Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989 and Reuters Fellow at University of Oxford in 2014. Designated Professor of Nagoya University's Institute of International Education and Exchange since October 2016.


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