What's driving women scientists out of Japan?

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Credit: G. Grullón

Japanese women account for only 10% of the researchers in Japan, but they account for 60% of Japanese researchers working abroad, according to Michinari Hamaguchi, president of prestigious Nagoya University in Japan and acting  president of the Japan Association of National Universities, as reported by Jack Grove at Times Higher Education. The country’s “male-dominated, aggressive” academic culture is likely responsible for the female scientists’ departure, Hamaguchi says, as quoted in the article.

Social norms make women feel unable to assert themselves among Japanese men, Hamaguchi explained. “Even if a Japanese lady has the same ability as a male researcher, they will sit back and stay quiet when the male is in the same room.” Once abroad, however, the women feel free of this “minority complex” and are able to deal more assertively with their colleagues, he suggested.

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