Promotion of Equality and Diversity at Waseda University
‒ From Promotion of Gender Equality to Promotion of Equality and Diversity ‒
On July 1, 2016, the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality underwent an expansive reorganization and was relaunched as the Office for Promotion of Equality and Diversity. We sat down with three key members of the Waseda administration to discuss the promotion of equality and diversity at Waseda.
Kaoru KAMATA President of Waseda University
Keiko HATA Vice President for Promotion of Equality and Diversity
Tetsuya YAGUCHI Director of the Office for Promotion of Equality and Diversity
Yaguchi ： I have been appointed as the Director of the Office for Promotion of Equality and Diversity, which is the successor role to the Director of the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality. In 2007, on the 125th anniversary of its founding, Waseda University declared its commitment to promoting gender equality in its educational and research activities, as well as to cultivating an environment where everyone is empowered to achieve their full potential.
Then, in 2012, Waseda created Waseda Vision 150, which incorporated gender equality and diversity as core strategies to be implemented as we look ahead to the university’s 150th anniversary in 2032. It is within this context that the Office for Promotion of Equality and Diversity has been launched.
Kamata ： Since its founding, Waseda University has been accepting and welcoming of eager students from all parts of Japan. And not only that, since early in its history, Waseda has opened its doors to overseas students from Asia as well as to female students. This has fostered an atmosphere and culture at Waseda which is open to diversity and which encourages healthy competition. In order to further develop this, Waseda Vision 150 emphasizes and promotes greater diversity. Assembling a diversity of knowledge and ideas will require the introduction of new perspectives and ways of thinking.
I believe that to achieve this will require greater participation by women and non-Japanese in education, research, and university administration, and that we need to transcend age, gender, specialization, place of origin, and other differences in order to form a new community comprised of people sharing a common goal.
Hata ： Up until now, the promotion of equality and diversity itself has not been one of Waseda’s explicitly stated goals; however, dedicated efforts have been made on an individual basis at various locations within the university.
As Director Yaguchi noted, since 2007 the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality has played a central part in efforts to promote gender equality, and Waseda Vision 150 has set numerical targets for the percentages of female and non-Japanese students and faculty Waseda seeks to have by 2032. A Disabled Student Services Office and International Community Center have been established within the Student Affairs Division, and concrete discussion is taking place regarding the student-led proposal for establishing an LGBT Student Center. All of these converge under the banner of promoting diversity and equality, by which we seek to empower all members of the Waseda community to achieve their full potential, free of discrimination based upon their specific attributes. And through this we seek to promote the creation of new knowledge and ideas, as well as to contribute to greater inclusiveness in society as a whole.
Kamata ： Today, the concept of diversity has expanded to encompass not only such attributes as sex, nationality, and ethnicity, but also a variety of different minority groups. Promotion of diversity cannot be limited to mere tolerance of those who are different; it must also ensure that those who are different enjoy equality of opportunity and equality of advantage as well. Universities have made it their mission to take the lead in putting principles into practice and offering proposals and suggestions that will create a better society.
Hata ： What is expected of us, therefore, is to cultivate understanding about the significance of equality and diversity and to foster a mindset focused on recognizing and resolving issues that exist in daily life.
Yaguchi ： Waseda University is characterized by the diversity of people it attracts, and I believe one of its appeals is that it is a space of mutual acceptance, validation, and growth. I want people to investigate what Waseda means by promoting diversity and equality, and I hope everyone will provide their own ideas and feedback as they get involved.
We hope that everyone in and around the Waseda community will support and get involved in Waseda University’s efforts to promote diversity and equality.
(by sankaku news No.16)