Understanding and Promoting Gender Diversity Among Senior Faculty at the University of Tokyo: A Student Action Project


Despite active efforts by the University of Tokyo (UTokyo) to promote women's academic career development, the ratio of females remains low throughout the UTokyo community. In particular, the large drop in gender diversity from student level (20% female undergraduates) to senior faculty (7.6% female full professors), suggests the existence of a "leaky pipeline" along the academic hierarchy. In March 2019, a team of 9 UTokyo students initiated a Student Initiative Project (SIP) to evaluate this hypothesis. SIPs are student-led programs which provide students with funding to research and respond to cross-cutting social issues. This project aims to support ongoing efforts within UTokyo to promote gender equality (GE) by focusing on two objectives: (i) to understand causes and solutions for low female faculty rates, and (ii) to foster a change in campus culture via gender mainstreaming.
The methodology included interviews of female and male researchers at UTokyo, followed by feedback to two Executive Vice-Presidents and the Office for Gender Equality. In parallel, a trilogy of interactive workshops involving panel discussions and documentary screenings were delivered to over 40 UTokyo students and faculty. This paper provides an overview of major findings from the project. Key lessons learnt are that: (i) a leaky pipeline exists, caused by intersection between gender and wider systemic issues such as job precarity for young faculty; (ii) solutions can be achieved through synergies with top-level university priorities such as international research ranking targets; (iii) student-led initiatives offer an effective means of supporting institutional change on gender equality.

Author Information
Maximilien Berthet, University of Tokyo, Japan
Saeko Kawataki, University of Tokyo, Japan
Kozue Okamura, University of Tokyo, Japan
Mizuki Ishida, University of Tokyo, Japan
Karthik Varada, University of Tokyo, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2020
Stream: Gender studies / Feminist Theory

This paper is part of the ACCS2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Berthet M., Kawataki S., Okamura K., Ishida M., & Varada K. (2020) Understanding and Promoting Gender Diversity Among Senior Faculty at the University of Tokyo: A Student Action Project ISSN: 2187-4751 The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2020: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2187-4751.2020.8
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2187-4751.2020.8

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon