Problem of Gender Discrimination About Women in Medicine in Japan

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This article entitled, ‘The Tokyo Medical University entrance exam scandal: lessons learned,’ written by Greg Wheeler for International Journal for Educational Integrity, is based on phenomena which are about issues of gender discrimination, such as woman in medicine in Japan. The author argues that intense competitions for admission to Japanese medical schools, their high requirements and the phenomenon about short career of women doctors in Japan , which caused officials at TMU lower women’s scores and limit applications’ rate of women and also caused gender discrimination sensation in Japan. The author also introduces the phenomenon that many people are discriminating and preventing against women who engage in medical work not only TMU in Japan. Whereas TMU uses its priority to make use of public faith and add financial pressure on students. As a consequence, TMU is severely criticized and required to bear the responsibility for what it did. Moreover, the author thinks the transparency of students’ scores, process of admission and tuition should be more public and also wish them to take relevant measures to resist discriminating.

Greg Wheeler explains clearly the problem of gender discrimination about women in medicine in Japan, and indicates ‘With all of these actions occurring, however, in the end, of course, it is up to the medical universities to live up to the standards they submit as their objectives, and take steps to ensure against a future repeat of the TMU scandal.’ (Greg Wheeler, 2018) Therefore, I agree with that women should have same rights to receive education and knowledge in medical field as much as men have. For instance, women may not be worse than male in learning because ‘Women have made more rapid gains in earning college degrees, especially among older students, where women outnumber men by a ratio of almost 2-to-1.’ (Corbett, Christianne; Hill, Catherine; St. Rose, Andresse, 2008) I think limiting female applicants’ chances is bad because it can impede women’s career fields. ‘In 2008, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that while female employment rates have expanded and gender employment and wage gaps have narrowed nearly everywhere, on average women still have 20% less chance to have a job and are paid 17% less than men.’ (OECD Employment Outlook, 2008)

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Furthermore, people can’t judge female doctors’ strength just from correctness of treating patients’ illnesses, which caused more and more patients prefer to choose male doctors to be their attending doctors. ‘Female physicians place greater emphasis on preventive therapies and also have different communication and decision‐making styles than male physicians, attributes that can lead to an improved quality of care.’ (H. K. Berthold I. Gouni‐Berthold K. P. Bestehorn M. Böhm, 2008)

Gender discrimination not only has a strong impact on chances for work but also impacts applicants’ interests and outcomes. I think the thought that women in medical school can’t get a long-term practice is bad since it can make bad effects on those women who have been admitted by medical schools. ‘According to SCCT, person variables (e.g., sex and ethnicity), background contextual affordances (e.g., supports for and barriers to engaging in certain activities), and learning experiences obtained in home, school, and work settings all combine to directly influence the development of self-efficacy and outcome expectations. These expectations in turn influence the development of interests and the translation of interests into goals and then behaviors.’ (Krista M. Chronister & Ellen Hawley McWhirter, 2004) For example, ‘Dustin B. Thoman and others (2008) hypothesize that “the socio-cultural salience of ability versus other components of the gender-math stereotype may impact women pursuing math’.

Through the experiment comparing the math outcomes of women under two various gender-math stereotype components, which are the ability of math and the effort on math respectively, Thoman and others found that women’s math performance is more likely to be affected by the negative ability stereotype, which is influenced by sociocultural beliefs in the United States, rather than the effort component. As a result of this experiment and the sociocultural beliefs in the United States, Thoman and others concluded that individuals’ academic outcomes can be affected by the gender-math stereotype component that is influenced by the sociocultural beliefs.’ (Thoman, Dustin B.; White, Paul H.; Yamawaki, Niwako; Koishi, Hirofumi, 2008). In my opinion, everyone is equal no matter in opportunities of finding jobs. I don’t oppose some physical jobs that women may can’t afford, which only give job opportunities for men; however, officials limit female to join in medical schools or hospitals, it is really unfair, and show gender discrimination. There are still many jobs for women, such as nurses. In addition, people can’t just make a conclusion reckless that after women delivered a baby, they are forbidden to work in the hospital again. Officials have no rights to intervene citizens’ normal needs of life because it is against laws.

In addition, just due to women have to marry or deliver a baby, companies add pressure on them and leave few positions for them and sometimes execute verbal attacks which I think fosters inequality. ‘Women in Japan have historically been underrepresented in leadership positions in the fields of economy and politics.’ (World Economic Forum 2013) ‘Statistical discrimination indicates the likelihood of employers to deny women access to certain occupational tracks because women are more likely than men to leave their job or the labor force when they become married or pregnant. Women are instead given positions that dead-end or jobs that have very little mobility.’ (Burstein, Paul, 1994) In my opinion, it is a woman’s responsibility to deliver a life and bring up; however, men also should shoulder the responsibility rather than using this excuse to reduce competitive pressure from women.

In conclusion, people should understand no one has the right to intervene a person to achieve his/her dream, because this opportunity, which is self-earned, and is also suffered by its owners, belongs to him/her. There are no certain rules of jobs that are labeled female can’t do because most of possibilities are labeled by human and people just accept and accept instead of resisting. In addition, people can’t say anything if people even never have a try. What’s more, everyone has his/her own unique and areas of expertise; however, many people still suffer under gender discrimination and can’t achieve their tiny dreams. In the end, what I want to say is just to appeal people that please don’t give up dreams and keep pressing forward.


  1. Wheeler International Journal for Educational Integrity (2018) 14:14
  2. American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. 1111 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-7602; Fax: 202-463-7169; e-mail: [email protected]; Web site:
  3. OECD. OECD Employment Outlook – 2008 Edition Summary in English. OECD, Paris, 2008, p. 3-4. Volume264, Issue4 October 2008 Pages 340-350
  4. Journal of Career Assessment, vol. 12, 2: pp. 169-187. , Fi[17] rst Published May 1, 2004.
  5. ‘Variations of Gender–math Stereotype Content Affect Women’s Vulnerability to Stereotype Threat’. Sex Roles. 58 (9–10): 702–12. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9390-x.
  6. The global gender gap report 2013. [Accessed: December 12, 2013].
  7. Burstein, Paul. ‘Equal Employment Opportunity: Labor Market Discrimination and Public Policy.’ Edison, NJ: Aldine Transaction, 1994.

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