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Only 1 in 7 Japanese scientists are women: study

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Posted April 16, 2014
Haruko Obokata, a researcher at Japan's Riken Institute, speaks at a press conference in Osaka, western Japan on April 9, 2014
Haruko Obokata, a researcher at Japan’s Riken Institute, speaks at a press conference in Osaka, western Japan on April 9, 2014
Just a seventh of scientists in Japan are female, government figures show—a record high rate for the country, despite being the lowest rate of any developed nation.

The figure comes amid a high-profile row in Japan that has pitted a young female researcher against the scientific establishment, and after repeated calls for Tokyo to boost female participation in the workforce to help plug a skills gap in the economy.

A nationwide study by the internal affairs ministry found that in March last year there were a record 127,800 female scientists in Japan, accounting for 14.4 percent of the total and up 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.

“Compared with 10 years ago in 2003, the pace of increase in the number of female scientists surpasses that of males in all organisations,” the ministry said.

Despite being a personal best for Japan, the percentage is the lowest among countries with comparable data in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), sometimes called the rich nations’ club.

In Russia it was 41.2 percent in 2012, 37.7 percent in Britain in 2011, 34.9 percent in Italy in 2011 and 33.6 percent in the United States in 2010.

The Japanese figure, released Monday, is also lower than Germany’s 26.7 percent, France’s 25.6 percent and South Korea’s 17.3 percent, all in 2011.

Read more at: Phys.org

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