Daniel Halliday
Aug 4 · Last update 4 mo. ago.
Is there anything that can be done about sexism in Japan?
Following incidents of a top Japanese medical university lowering female entrance scores by 10 to 20 percent, what can be done to tackle sexism in Japan?
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In a country that needs innovation, discrimination will only discourage progress
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Gender inequality maybe unfair but possibly too complicated to solve
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Japan is steeped in history and tradition, and gender roles are closely linked to this
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In a country that needs innovation, discrimination will only discourage progress

Sexism has implications far further reaching than arguments of fairness or equality. Limiting potential students based on gender will limit potential talent-pools the effected field may have to choose candidates from, but when scandals such as this become public knowledge it will only discourage even more potential talent from considering to even apply for these biased fields. This is bad for the institution as a business and worse for the field in general, as potentially talented doctors may seek out another line of study and professions, as it harbours less risk for them personally.

Ingrained discriminatory policies such as these could potentially feed into a societal neurosis also, causing some people to retract from the societal norms of starting a family and child-rearing. Looking at the increase of single person households (34.6% in 2015), coupled with a growing amount of people remaining single past the age of 50, it is obvious to see the contributing factors behind Japan’s falling birth rate, now over a third of all households in Japan being occupied by single people. Regardless of Japanese traditionalism, the trends look to be going against the preservation of Japanese culture by numbers alone. It remains debatable but morally reprehensible attitudes such as this could be feeding into a decline in the Japanese population.

However it is not limited to this sole case, there are also numerous examples of gender discrimination in Japan, sometimes targeting men also, such as the barring of male midwives. There is further evidence in the law regarding name change in marriage, although it is possible for men to take their wives family name when getting married, 90% of Japanese women still take their husbands family name. There is no choice for women to keep their maiden name legally when married, and likewise there is no provision for same sex or transgender couples. These laws, or lack thereof, alienate talent, alienate subsections of society completely, and feeds into growing negative statistics that indicate a decline in Japanese society.

Japan has discrimination laws that protect workers against gender discrimination, however this may not apply in the case of universities in Japan. As they are an institution and not an employer. Japan should further its laws to be inclusive of all institutions and organisations also, especially when there are in the interest of the countries economic future. It is only logical. Furthermore, out of date laws and rules should be overhauled completely to try and reduce discrimination, and to protect minority groups that may not have existed or may have been marginalised traditionally.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235590 statista.com/statistics/606243/japan-one-person-households japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/05/national/1-4-japanese-men-still-unmarried-age-50-report/#.W4DLYaAVTOQ japantimes.co.jp/news/2000/08/08/national/one-mans-fight-to-be-a-midwife/#.XIOkXyIzapo staradvertiser.com/2019/02/13/news/japanese-same-sex-couples-sue-for-equal-marital-rights

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 23
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DH edited this paragraph
Japan has discrimination laws that protect workers against gender discrimination, however this may not apply in the case of universities in Japan. As they are an institution and not an employer. Japan should further its laws to be inclusive of all institutions and organisations also, especially when there are in the interest of the countries economic future. It is only logical. Furthermore, out of date laws and rules should be overhauled completely to try and reduce discrimination, and to protect minority groups that may not have existed or may have been marginalised traditionally.
Gender inequality maybe unfair but possibly too complicated to solve

While it is inexcusable to change an applicant's exam results, we should be careful when thinking about how to address gender inequality. Gender inequality is a nuanced problem, with many causes and consequences, some not as simple as perceived fairness, or pay scale in a working environment. It is good to have a level playing field and especially important not to negatively discriminate against a whole gender. But equality of outcome for all groups, whether gender, ethnic or based on age is a dangerous goal that only has detrimental effects on society.

Controlling for group differences in any way, both positive and negative, could have just as many undesired side effects. There is for example a large gender discrepancy in the statistics of doctors in some European countries, and this varies hugely throughout Europe. In countries such as Latvia and Estonia women make up over 70% of doctors and 11 states in Europe have more female than male doctors. If equality was called into questions here regulations would need to favour men, but implementing controls may affect the gender balance in other industries or lead to the restriction of female doctors.

This becomes even more complex as you begin to consider the reasons why there may be more female doctors in certain countries, but when you consider the fields that tend to universally attract more men than women, some light may be shed on this matter. Many careers that universally attract men tend to be more dangerous, involve a higher degree of physical labour or include more antisocial working hours, implying there is a difficult factor of genetic predispositions involved in making the matter even more complicated. These differences are not completely universal though and differ from country to country, implying there may be something cultural at play here also, not a clear case of genetic difference, but controlling for a cultural difference may not prove to solve this multilayered problem either. As in controlling for inequality you run the risk of discriminating to fight discrimination, and you will be just passing the lack of fairness on to another group.

oecd.org/gender/data/women-make-up-most-of-the-health-sector-workers-but-they-are-under-represented-in-high-skilled-jobs.htm washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/08/02/a-medical-school-in-japan-didnt-want-too-many-women-so-it-lowered-their-grades/?utm_term=.8f748e01cb6d

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 9
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DH edited this paragraph
While it is inexcusable to change an applicant's exam results, we should be careful when thinking about how to address gender inequality. Gender inequality is a nuanced problem, with many causes and consequences, some not as simple as perceived fairness, or pay scale in a working environment. It is good to have a level playing field and especially important not to negatively discriminate against a whole gender. But equality of outcome for all groups, whether gender, ethnic or based on age is a dangerous goal that only has detrimental effects on society.
Japan is steeped in history and tradition, and gender roles are closely linked to this

Discussing sexism in Japan is no easy task, sexism has permeated deeply into Japanese culture and the country is not comparable to other cultures that have had long established women’s rights campaigns. Sometimes sexist ideals are perpetuated by women themselves in Japan also, having a deep respect for tradition and a large proportion of traditionalists, both women and men. Furthermore, sexism is not contained to just educational institutions, with companies and even families arguably reinforcing sharp gender differences.

For example there is a shortage of preschools and childcare in Japan, as it is not seen as a profitable industry, making it difficult for those working in childcare to live on very low wages. As a result many women opt to quit work when starting a family, as finding childcare may be just too difficult. Furthermore, family pressure may feed into this also, as conservative husbands and older women of respective families may assume the wife should take up a traditional role in the family, and give up her career after having children.

Sexism is often seen as a necessary evil in Japan and changing one institution's acceptance policy for female students will not change this issue in any way. Some may even argue that what westerners call sexism could be a misunderstood cultural difference for what may be seen by some as virtuous and traditional behaviour. It may be wise not to underestimate the power of tradition and culture preservation here, something that many people value about Japan, both domestically and abroad, even though sexism represents something wholly negative elsewhere, it may be part of what makes Japan, Japan.

japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/16/national/japans-day-care-shortage-intensifies-populations-cluster-near-city-centers cnbc.com/2018/04/02/japan-day-care-shortage-is-an-opportunity-for-international-operators.html ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235590

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 9
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Sexism is often seen as a necessary evil in Japan and changing one institution's acceptance policy for female students will not change this issue in any way. Some may even argue that what westerners call sexism could be a misunderstood cultural difference for what may be seen by some as virtuous and traditional behaviour. It may be wise not to underestimate the power of tradition and culture preservation here, something that many people value about Japan, both domestically and abroad, even though sexism represents something wholly negative elsewhere, it may be part of what makes Japan, Japan.
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