Systemic sexism

Prestigious Japanese medical school allegedly altered scores to exclude women

A nurse tends to a newborn infant at a university hospital in Tokyo. Tokyo Medical University is accused of discriminating against female students. (Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Reuters)

Japan’s Tokyo Medical University has been accused of deliberately altering women applicants’ entrance exam scores in order to prevent more women from being admitted into the university. In a shocking expose published on Thursday, Japanese daily The Yomiuri Shimbun alleged that in 2011 school officials had begun deducting between 10 to 20 points from women’s test scores, an act that was apparently motivated by a belief that women graduates were less likely than men to stay on at the university’s hospital working as doctors. “Many female students who graduate end up leaving the actual medical practice to give birth and raise children,” a source within the university told The Asahi Shimbun. “There was a silent understanding (to accept more male students) as one way to resolve the doctor shortage.”

Between 2009 and 2010, the incoming number of women at the university had doubled such that women made up 40 percent of the 2010 class. According to an analysis by The Asahi Shimbun of Tokyo Medical University’s pool of incoming students in 2018, the university only accepted 30 women this year compared to 141 men.

Women walk past the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Tokyo, Japan. (REUTERS/Toru Hanai)

A number of prominent women doctors have since spoken out about the scandal, including Ruriko Tsushima, an executive board member of the Japan Joint Association of Medical Professional Women.

“I can’t forgive (what the institution is said to have) done to people who studied hard to get into the university, hoping to become doctors,” said Tsushima in an interview with The Japan Times. “It shouldn’t happen in a democratic country that is supposed to provide equal educational opportunities.”

The accusations come as the prestigious medical school also faces accusations of corruption and bribery after school officials allegedly added points to the exam scores of the son of education ministry official Futoshi Sano in return for a financial grant. Sano, who was arrested last month, has denied having bribed the school.

Read the full story at HuffPost.

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