By Aashika Ravi
Let us leave our own sob stories of sexism in the education system to float over Japan for a moment and be appalled at theirs.
Two days ago, officials of Tokyo Medical University admitted to rigging their entrance test results by reducing the marks of female applicants and increasing the marks of male applicants for the last 12 years at least.
The reason? Take a wild guess. 10 points if you answered with any variation of the usual women-only-work-as-a-pastime-and-their-true-calling-is-making-babies spiel.
Jake Adelstein of The Times reports, “The university’s top management institutionalised sex discrimination because they believed that female doctors were more likely to leave the profession after getting married or having children, reducing the number of the university’s graduates in the medical field, and thereby reducing the institution’s influence.”
Interestingly, the rumour that their test scores are somehow meddled with to give women a disadvantage has been around for a while. But a week ago, concrete skeletons started tumbling out of TMU’s closet. A Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shibun first reported that the University had been deliberately reducing female applicants’ scores since 2011.
The report also gives a clear breakdown of how test scores were manipulated, and the percentage of women who passed the first and second rounds of the test in opposition to that of men. For instance, in 2010, before the rigging of scores, successful female applicants accounted for 40% of the total applicants, but since then, the university has deliberately kept it at 30%.
The practice was discovered by a panel of lawyers which was hired to conduct an investigation into “the alleged “backdoor entry” of an education ministry bureaucrat’s son in exchange for favorable treatment for the school to get research funds.” According to a tweet by Kurumi Mori, reporter at Bloomberg.
This TMU is increasingly giving us vaanthi feels. (Clearly they haven’t heard that women are more likely to survive heart attacks if treated by female doctors, according to this recent report in The Atlantic. Apart from that, the study also found that the female physicians outperformed their male colleagues. Wonder what TMU officials have to say about that.)
Top officials have expressed their “greatest regret” and other such fake rona-dhona. Keisuke Miyazawa, acting president of the university said, “To those persons whom we have caused tremendous suffering, especially female candidates whom we have hurt, we will do everything possible [to make it up to them].”
We’re not sure what “everything possible” will boil down to. There are talks of monetary compensation among other things, but we hope that it involves admitting only female candidates for the next 11 years.