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田中優子総長が日本外国特派員協会で講演、パネルディスカッションを行いました

2014年08月08日

左より 稲葉京都大学副学長 田中優子総長 江川東京大学理事

左より 稲葉京都大学副学長 田中優子総長 江川東京大学理事

7月29日、日本外国特派員協会主催のプレスイベントにて、“Women in Education”というタイトルで、法政大学より田中総長、京都大学より稲葉カヨ副学長(男女共同参画担当)、東京大学より江川雅子理事による講演及びパネルディスカッションが行われました。

田中総長の講演は、「リーダーとしての女性たち」というテーマで、「教育界では、小学校から高校まで多くの女性たちが働いていて、女性が少ないわけではない。しかし一方,女性学長の比率は,2012年度の日本の746大学中,8.7%で,そのほとんどが女子大や単科大学である。その中にあって、法政大学の教職員の投票によって女性総長が選ばれたのは、法政大学の革新性と関係がある」と述べ、政界や企業トップに女性はまだ少ない現在、「民主主義が法律や言葉だけで達成されるわけではないように、多様性社会の実現も、社会全体での取り組みが必要」として「大学はその先頭に立つべきと考えます。」と締めくくりました。詳細は以下となりますので、ご参照ください。


Women as Leaders

Yuko Tanaka

田中総長

I have been as shocked as anyone by the recent reports of inappropriate comments, including heckling by male politicians in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and sexist remarks in our national legislature. I had thought that Japanese men's attitudes toward women had changed significantly since my years at university and graduate school. It's disappointing to realize how very little they have changed.

Let me begin by relating my own experience in this area.
When I was being interviewed for admission to graduate school, back in 1974, one of the professors conducting the interview seemed to find my application amusing. He joked, "Three meals, a nap, and grad school, right?" The other professors laughed along with him. This was a play on the stock phrase sanshoku hirune tsuki, or three meals and a nap, referring to the supposedly pampered life of the Japanese homemaker. It didn’t apply to me at all since I was unmarried and a university student. But simply because I was a woman, he immediately imagined this scenario in which I had married, become a full-time homemaker with a lot of time on my hands, and decided to go to graduate school as a kind of hobby, to relieve the boredom. I can’t imagine why he would say it unless he was fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of women in graduate school. At the time I felt vaguely insulted since I fully intended to devote the rest of my life to research. But I didn't challenge his remark because I didn’t want to risk being rejected. As it turned out, I was admitted as a graduate student thanks to my scores on the written examination. But that was when I was forced to face the fact that I would be spending my life in a place where women are looked down on in this manner.

My experience illustrates the gap between our formal institutions and our social mores and attitudes. The entrance examination system treated applicants fairly and equally. But this equitable system didn't lead to real equality. Women have had to work twice as hard as their male counterparts in their studies and on the job, all the while putting up with contemptuous behavior and insulting jokes.

In fact, when I was hired by the university in 1980, my academic supervisor had advised me to work twice as hard as my male colleagues, as a researcher and an instructor, in order to prove to them that a woman could do the job. On paper, the pay and duties of a faculty member are the same for women as for men, but in the actual workplace, women have to work twice as hard as men to level the playing field, and they are never free to turn down the tasks assigned them.

These experiences go back 40 years and 34 years, respectively. But while our systems have grown ever more equitable, it seems to me that social attitudes and assumptions have changed very little. This is the basic reason Japanese women have so few leadership opportunities today.

And women like me are partly to blame because we didn't make it our business to change society by standing up and protesting. We thought it was enough to meet our challenges individually, by working harder. We didn’t appreciate the significance of the gap between systems and attitudes or confront the need to bring social attitudes and realities into line with the goals of equality embraced by Japan’s Constitution and institutions.

According to 2012 figures, women account for 60.2 percent of all teaching staff at Japanese elementary schools, 45.1 percent at middle schools, 26.7 percent at high schools, and 21.5 percent at the university level. Taken together, women represent a sizable portion of the teaching profession. And given that women made up only 8 percent of all full-time instructors back in 1980, the increase has been considerable. These are the figures of Japanese male and female high school graduates went on to four-year universities.

In 2012, a full 56.4 percent of Japanese female high school graduates went on to four-year universities, as compared with 58.8 percent of male graduates. That’s still lower than the university enrollment rate for women in most Western countries and South Korea. But the gap has closed substantially since 1970, the year I enrolled at university. At that time, the enrollment rate was 17.1 percent for men and 6.5 percent for women. Today most Japanese women enroll in four-year universities, and the rate is almost the same as for men.

And yet, when you go higher up the ladder, the gap between Japan and other countries is huge. Women make up 41.7 percent of professional researchers in Russia and 34.3 percent in the United States but only 14 percent in Japan. In 2013, the percentage of female executives and directors at private corporations is just 1.1 percent in Japan, as compared with 12.6 percent in the United States and 36.1 percent in Norway. Japan ranks 127th in the world in the portion of national legislature seats filled by women, with just 8 percent. France, India, and South Korea have all implemented concrete measures to boost the number of female politicians in their national assemblies, but Japan has done nothing.

As for university presidents, only 8.7 percent were headed by women as of 2012, and virtually all of those were women's universities or single-faculty colleges. The number of four-year comprehensive universities with a woman serving as both president and chair of the board of trustees is—I’m sorry to say—exactly one.

The fact that the faculty of Hosei University voted to elect a woman as president is a tribute to the institution’s progressive character. Hosei University has changed a lot in the past 30 or 40 years. The number of women faculty members as full-time teaching staff has roughly tripled, 18.2%. Faculty positions are open to all applicants as a rule, and hiring decisions are based on research achievements and educational qualifications, so the number of women has continued to rise. In fact, today women make up 56.6 percent of the full-time administrative staff. We also have a good number of male faculty members who are actively engaged in child rearing, and we all work hard to accommodate each other. Our faculty members tend to be liberal in their orientation, and our guiding principles are Freedom and Progress. As an institution, we are less hemmed in by prejudice and privilege than most.

There was a good deal of interest in the last election for university president; voter turnout was about 90 percent. Out of two candidates, a man and woman of roughly the same age, I received 58 percent of the vote—not a landslide by any means. Neither of us represented a faction, and our positions weren’t in sharp conflict, so I think you could say that people cast their votes calmly, in a thoughtful manner. There wasn't a lot of hype about the gender issue, so I don't think that determined most people's votes.

But I realized during the election that this was the first time a woman had ever run for an executive position at the university. A big reason for that is that scarcely any women have served in the position of dean. Deans are elected by their undergraduate schools. It's a position of responsibility, in which you chair faculty meetings, forge a consensus out of the diverse opinions aired there, and represent your school at the deans' meetings, negotiating and sometimes coming into conflict with the university’s top brass. You learn a lot about university administration in the process. In some countries people learn the ropes after they’ve been appointed president, but I personally feel that there's no substitute for the experience one gains in a position of responsibility such as dean of an undergraduate school. The point is that there’s process one has to go through to become a leader, whether in business or in academia. We need to make a conscious and concerted effort as an institution to include women in this process. However hard each individual woman may strive, it isn't going to be enough to change society.

Recently I began the process of formulating a new long-term vision for Hosei University. I've created a number of committees for that purpose, and one of those is the Diversity Promotion Committee, which was one of my campaign pledges. This is not just oriented to women. The fact is that many men are involved in child rearing, and a large number of our faculty members are caring for elderly parents. The university also has a responsibility to employ non-Japanese faculty members, in line with the nation's goals for globalizing higher education. We need to meet the diverse requirements of an aging population, of globalization, and also of universal inclusiveness, opening up the workplace to individuals with disabilities. The leadership of women in academia and business can play a critical role in promoting the diversity Japan needs to meet the many difficult challenges it faces.

Just as democracy cannot be achieved by laws and words alone, diversity and inclusion demand concerted efforts at every level of society. I believe that the university should be at the forefront of those efforts.


※ 日本外国特派員協会とは
1945年に設立され、現在150社の新聞、通信社、ラジオ、TV、雑誌などの海外報道機関から派遣された在日外国特派員と日本の報道機関60社から合わせて約360人の記者が正会員として登録されている社団法人。これまでに、ダライ・ラマ法王、ジャック・シラク、ジョージ・ブッシュをはじめ、歴代の内閣総理大臣など政治、経済、スポーツ、文化、芸能界など幅広い分野の方々が講演を行っている。