A Japanese medical university has systematically discriminated against female applicants because women tend to quit as doctors after starting families, media reports have alleged.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Tokyo Medical University had manipulated the entrance exam results of women since about 2011 to keep the female student population low. Quoting unidentified sources, it said the manipulation started after the proportion of successful applicants who were women reached 38% in 2010.
In Japan, many female graduates face discrimination in hiring and pay. Long working hours and lack of support in child-rearing from their husbands often force them to give up their careers. As Japan’s population ages and birth rates remain low, many workplaces including hospitals are chronically short-staffed.
Women account for more than 40% of the overall workforce, but the share of female doctors who have passed the national medical exam has been stuck at about 30% for more than 20 years. The slow progress in medicine has prompted speculation among some doctors about possible widespread interference in the school admissions process.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Tokyo school started to restrict the proportion of women in each class to about 30% by manipulating test scores thereby failing more women.