Can Japanese Support Program for Women Researchers’ Work-Family Balance Achieve Gender Equality?

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Mariko TATSUMI, Osaka Prefecture University, Japan
This study considers the achievement and agenda of Japanese support program for woman researchers’ work-family balance to achieve gender equality.
Japan ranks 111th among 144 countries on the Gender Gap Index, the advancement of women is an important agenda for Japanese government. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology started a support program for women researchers’ work-family balance in 2006. It aimed to increase the number of women researchers and improve their research skills. 90 universities have started this program from 2006 to 2016.
This study examines the sufficiency of materials involved in this support program and the data about the researchers in universities.
This support program helps women researchers by establishing nursery schools in universities and providing assistants for their research, allowing them to continue to work and research during pregnancy and parenting. In reality, the number of women researchers voluntarily leaving their jobs has decreased. However, the Japanese women researcher ratio was 15.3% in 2016, which is low by global standards. Gender equality needs change the lifestyles of both women and men researchers, because the half of partners of women researchers are men researchers.
In contemporary Japan, child caring fathers are recommended, and most of the younger men researchers care for their children. Men researchers comprise about 85% of the total researchers. The half of partners of the men researchers are full-time housewives, and those men do not have to take care of their children. Thus, child caring men researchers are a hidden minority within the majority. Therefore, the importance of both mothers’ and fathers’ child caring needs to expand, because most of the men researchers cannot perceive child-caring men.
Thus, the support program for women researchers have to advance both “women and men” researchers for gender equality.