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Japanese University To Pay Compensation After Making It Harder For Women To Pass Exams

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Japanese University To Pay Compensation After Making It Harder For Women To Pass Exams

A medical school in Tokyo has been forced to pay compensation to 13 women after it was found guilty of gender discrimination, following claims it deliberately made entrance exams harder to pass for female students.

Juntendo University was among several Japanese schools revealed to have set unnecessarily high standards for female applicants in order to 'narrow the gap with male students', after claiming that women had better communication skills and were therefore at an advantage in the interview part of their applications.

“Women mature faster mentally than men, and their communication ability is also higher by the time they take the university exam,” Hiroyuki Daida, dean of Juntendo’s medical school, told reporters in 2018, before also claiming that the university dorms had insufficient room to house the required number of female students – claims which a third-party committee later deemed unacceptable.

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Juntendo University. Credit: Alamy
Juntendo University. Credit: Alamy

The ensuing controversy eventually led to a series of revelations that a number of top universities had been deliberately altering entrance exam scores for more than a decade, fuelling suspicions that other institutions were also operating a similarly discriminatory admissions policy.

Following an official government investigation into the practice, it was revealed that schools maintained a policy of reducing all female applicants’ first-stage test scores by 20% before awarding all male applicants an additional 20 points, except in the case of those who had previously failed the test at least four times.

“There were rumours that the school deliberately failed women so they could produce more male doctors,” Miyauchi, one of the first affected women to speak publicly, said in an interview with The Guardian. “But I was still shocked when I found out that those rumours were true.”

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“Changing people’s test scores because of their gender is straightforward discrimination,” said Sayumi Tanaka, another affected student. “There is a huge difference between changing an exam score and giving someone a poor evaluation in an interview, because in the latter the examiner has more of a free hand.

“If I had known that the school discriminated against female candidates I would never have applied,” she added.

Juntendo University. Credit: Alamy
Juntendo University. Credit: Alamy

A Tokyo district court spokesperson has since announced that Juntendo had been ordered to pay the plaintiffs ¥8m (£50,000), in the first of several settlements brought about by a class-action lawsuit targeting three universities, with Kitasato and Tokyo School of Medicine also named in the report.

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Miyauchi added that the scandal also has an additional effect of deterring young girls from entering the medical and other professions.

“It reinforces the message that women don’t need to bother studying,” she said. “The old-fashioned idea that women should raise children while their husbands go out to work still resonates in Japanese society. This is just an example of a much bigger problem. And it’s brought shame on Japan.”

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, World News, Education

Tom Sanders
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