EGU2020-20881, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Progress and problems of gender equality in Japanese academia, and empowerment activities in science and geoscience

Rie Hori, S.
Rie Hori, S.
  • Department of Earth Science/Women's Future Development Center, Ehime University,Matsuyama, Japan (

According to the Global gender equality Rankings by World Economic Forum, the Gender Index rank of Japan has been below 100 during the last 8 years. Every 4 years, Japan ranking has been slipping by 10 points, and has finally reached 121st in 2019. In 2011, the Japanese government released the “Promotion of Positive action” program targeting 30% of women’s participation in the workplace including Academia by 2020. However, this goal has not been met as yet. Based on the 15th survey by the Japan Association National Universities which includes most Geoscience departments of Japan, only 4% of national universities have achieved >30% female to total academic staff ratio. The average ratio increased slightly from 13.0% (2011) to 16.7% (2018). The change is quite slow and is hard to accelerate. In the STEM field, female staff ratios are 12.3% (Agriculture), 8.7% (Science) and 6.2% (Engineering). The percentage of undergraduate female students in Science has gradually decreased during these 10 years from ca. 28% to 25% in total, while the number of women in Ph.D. studies increased as a result of several empowerment programs. A recently organized All Nippon Diversity Network (OPENed: O-Progressive initiatives of Empowering Network for Diversity) provides a country-wide platform for networking institutional activities on diversity issues and sharing information on efficient activities and practices for empowerment. In this presentation, we are sharing information on ongoing action in Japan concerning gender issues, and try to identify and discuss unconscious problems/causes for improvement.

How to cite: Hori, S., R.: Progress and problems of gender equality in Japanese academia, and empowerment activities in science and geoscience, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20881,, 2020

Comments on the presentation

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 05 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-20881, Scarlet Stadtler, 05 May 2020


    I was glad to see the MEXT 2006 program to enhance gender equality in science. Such programs proved to be very helpful, but I wonder how a program would look like to change the image of a japanese scientist - in terms of role models. I met many female researchers in Japan, but most of them were from other Asian countries. 

    Scarlet Stadtler

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Rie Hori, S., 05 May 2020

      Thanks for your comments.

      The MEXT 2006 program changed the concept and treatment of gender issues in university politics. The university successfully supported by this NEXT program had opened the division or center for gender equality in their university and organized high activities within/out universities. In particular, many empowerment programs were operated for female and male staffs, and performed scientific education programs for the next generations such as high school girls students.

      For female scientists, they can easily insist/show their opinions concerning to gender problems and access to the top of universities after that.

      So, Japanese female scientists had changed their mind, or busy in some cases, that we can do/have to do the gender issues, not only scientific ones before.

      Also, universities supported from this program have to face to a task of increasing up the percentage of female staff, in particular STEM filed.

      Rie (Rie S. HORI: Ehime University)