October 21, 2007
The Constitution of Japan advocates respect for individuals and equality before the law. In accordance with these principles, the Basic Act for Gender-Equal Society regards the creation of a gender-equal society as one of the most important tasks for the 21st century. The term “gender-equal society,” as used here, refers to a society where individuals can participate in activities in any field of their choice as equal members of society and enjoy political, economical, social, and cultural benefits on equal terms, irrespective of sex, where individual differences are respected and valued and where all individuals are allowed plenty of freedom of choice.
The creation of a gender-equal society is a common responsibility of the national and municipal governments and all their people. Needless to say, universities are also required to contribute to achieving this goal as institutes of higher education. It can be said that universities have very important roles to play in promoting gender equality in educational and research activities, as well as in academic and research fields.
Waseda University has always traditionally been an independent-minded private university, free from interference from officialdom ever since its foundation in 1882. The educational and research activities of the University can be represented by four ideas: “Independence of Learning,” “Enterprising Spirit,” “Anti-elitist Philosophy,” and “Harmonization of Eastern and Western Cultures.” The founder of the University, Okuma Shigenobu, placed great emphasis on education for women from the beginning and served as the Chairperson on the Founding Preparation Committee of Japan Women’s University, which was founded in 1901. Waseda University accepted 12 female auditors in 1921, and later four female regular students in 1939. Given this tradition of Enterprising Spirit, promoting gender equality in educational and research fields is a natural course of action for the University, which we are very proud of.
However, the University still has a lot of tasks ahead of it before gender equality is fully achieved in education and research. Female students account for more than 30% of the undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University (33.0% of the undergraduate students, 26.9% of the master’s students, and 32.8% of the doctoral students in 2007), with a significantly higher percentage of female students in its doctoral programs than in many other universities. By contrast, however, women constitute only around 10% of the full-time faculty members (excluding research associates and visiting faculty). While the percentage of women in its full-time staff posts is 24.7%, only 3.7% of the Dean posts and 11.6% of the Administrative Director posts are occupied by women.
Waseda University faces these realities and declares here today, which marks its 125th anniversary, that it will work across the board to promote gender equality as its new ASPIRATION for the world, so as to set a good example for other universities across Japan as a comprehensive private university.
- Waseda University endeavors to achieve full gender equality in decision making in university management by correcting the gender imbalance in the makeup of the faculty and administrative staff, and students of the University, with the aim of promoting gender equality in education, research, and employment.
- Waseda University develops and implements effective and specific measures to help faculty and administrative staff, students, and other involved parties in juggling their educational activities, research, and work with life events such as childbirth, childcare, and caring for the sick and elderly.
- Being fully aware of the fact that scholarship and research in a fully gender-equal society can contribute to assuring a more harmonious coexistence of different beings, Waseda University will continue to strive to integrate knowledge and develop human resources for a new and better society.
- To achieve the above objectives, Waseda University establishes the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality, and develops and implements the Gender Equality Basic Plan from a long-term point of view.