Gender Inequality is Real In This International Medical School

It’s no secret that gender inequality and discrimination exists on a global level. Of course, it is an issue that has made progress over the years; however, the international headlines I see on a weekly or even daily basis regarding the inferior status of women in the professional sphere and everyday life evoke feelings of disbelief, disgust, and dismay. In particular, although it is now legal for Saudi women to drive, sexism continues to be deeply ingrained in their culture.

Along the same line, you may have heard about or seen the Wall Street Journal article that was just released on August 2nd about a Japanese medical school meddling in the admission process. Specifically, the board of Tokyo Medical University was accused of lowering exam scores of female applicants to limit the amount of future female doctors. Yes, you read that right. It was reported that school leaders supposedly favored male over female doctors because many women will eventually want to be married and have children. This translates into more doctors on maternity leave; and In light of the current shortage of Japanese doctors, the school decided to turn the tide in society’s favor at the expense of women. To make matters worse, the school has allegedly been involved in this practice since 2011, a year after the number of female matriculates doubled to 40%. Coincidental? Maybe not. According to the Tokyo Medical University website, this year’s entering class had 97 male and 23 female students. If these trends continue, the percentage of female doctors in Japan will drop further below the 2016 statistic of 21%.

It seems Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “womenomics” agenda or effort to promote equality in Japanese society and bring more women into the workforce is falling by the wayside. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) global ranking of gender equality, Japan has actually dropped from 111 in 2016 to 114 in 2017.

It’s not an easy undertaking to erase long-lasting beliefs that were once supported by laws and institutions, even if they now go against the growing sentiment of gender equality. Almost a century after the ratification of the nineteenth amendment in the US, we are still experiencing gender discrimination and fighting to challenge traditional gender roles. Consistent media coverage (like this article), increasing education, and unfortunately, ample time are critical in terminating sexism and achieving gender equality.

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Elizabeth Arruda

Is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel.