Sexism against women can be a huge social, psychological, and sometimes even financial issue in both the education sector and workplace. However, one prestigious Japanese medical university took a systemic policy of discrimination against women even further.
One of the most selective schools of its kind, Tokyo Medical University has a 9% acceptance rate for male applicants and less than 3% acceptance rate for female applicants. An investigation revealed that the school was intentionally lowering the scores of women who took its entrance exam by as much as 20% in order to keep the male-to-female ratio low.
The school’s leadership came under intense scrutiny after allegations of corruption emerged. In July, the university administration was accused of accepting bribes from an education ministry official.
University board of regents chair Masahiko Usui and president Mamoru Suzuki were both forced to resign after it came out that they inflated the grades of the education official’s son to ensure that he would gain a spot at the school.
The sexist testing policy against women was uncovered after other scoring discrepancies were noticed. It’s believed to have gone on since 2011.
Private sources close to the university claim that the policy was undertaken because of a fear that female doctors will inevitably become pregnant, seek maternity leave, and eventually abandon their posts to take care of their families.
When one considers the extremely low birth rate in Japan, punishing female medical students based on what they may or may not want to do with their bodies and lives feels like an especially ridiculous and egregious course of action. Still, according to Japan Joint Association of Medical Professional Women executive board member Kyoko Tanebe, it’s an extremely common concern that may be impacting other medical school admissions in Japan.
Japanese politician, Seiko Noda, whose titles include Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication, and Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment denounced Tokyo Medical’s discriminatory policies, declaring, “Any admissions process that wrongfully discriminates against women is absolutely not acceptable.”
Noda added, “It is extremely important to improve the working environment so that women can pursue their medical professions.”