Univ. of Tokyo Displays Posters to Address Discrimination Faced by Women at the University; Women Only Make Up Less Than 25% of Student Body

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The University of Tokyo’s posters for a project aimed at raising awareness about the discrimination faced by women at the university

The University of Tokyo, which still has a low percentage of female students and faculty, put up posters on Monday displaying rude and disrespectful comments made toward women at the university as part of a project to raise awareness about the discrimination they face.

The poster, titled “Kotoba no gyakufu” (headwinds of words), is part of the university’s project to raise awareness about the issues women face and create an environment that is more comfortable for women to study and work.

The poster follows a previous one that was put up in dining halls and other parts of the campus earlier this month that read, “Why are there so few women at the University of Tokyo?”

The new poster displays such comments as, “You’re going to the University of Tokyo even though you’re a girl?” and “Women aren’t cut out for research,” written in Japanese.

The comments were collected last autumn from a survey in which the university asked students and researchers questions regarding discriminatory or disrespectful comments they have received or heard said to others.

The university has set a goal to increase the percentage of female students, including postgraduate students, to 30% or more and female faculty to 25% or more by fiscal 2026. Currently, women only make up 24.6% of the student body and 17.6% of the faculty.

The university believes that unconscious biases and discrimination affects women’s decisions to avoid the university when selecting where to study or work.

“We hope to eliminate unconscious biases and change the situation,” said Kaori Hayashi, an executive vice president of the university.