Sunday, March 19, 2023

Japan Has Lowest Percentage of Women Studying Science

Among 36 comparable OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) member countries, Japan has the lowest share of women studying science, according to the organization's latest annual report. The report pointed out Japan's significant gender gap in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathamatics) areas and said Japan needs to inspire women to pursue studies in these areas. 

The proportion of women entering STEM fields at the university education level in Japan was only 27 percent, far below the OECD average of 52 percent. Slovakia was on top with 65 percent, followed by Poland at 63 percent and Czeck Republic and Lithuania which were both at 60 percent. The second lowest Belgium, at 40 percent is still much higher than Japan's 27 percent. 

In the fields of engineering, maufacturing, and construction, women in Japan were at 16 percent.  The highest levels were Iceland at 39 percent, followed by Poland at 36 percent, and Greece at 33 percent. 

Why does Japan rank so low? Last week at the International Women's Day event at the company where I work, the company leadership addressed the situation at the company and advocated for hiring and promoting more women to management and leadership positions. I hope that happens, but I expect it will take a very long time.


Toki said...

I'm sure the numbers are low. But It's certainly increased from 10 or 20 years ago.
So, I also think it would be good if more women studied science or made it a career.
But I don't want school and companies to rush.
I want companies not to give priority only to the number of female managers.
Japan should study other countries and think about what they lack and what they need for education and career advancement.
It's good to learn, but It's not good to imitate immediately. I want Japan to work hard to create a solid support system for them without being bound by numbers.

Leonore Winterer said...

Thankfully, we can actually see changes in this field during our lifetime. When I started university, there were only 9 (out of 81) women in my course. By the time I left university for good in 2022, the proportion was much better! Hopefully Japan will get there, too.