Activity Report

Report on Science Council of Japan Forum “Future of Science and Technology that Gender-based Perspectives Change” ~Gender Summit 10 Follow-up Symposium~

Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) co-organized the captioned symposium with Science Council of Japan on Thursday, 14th June, 2018. The number of participants was 110 in total including the 16 speakers and panelists.

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Opening addresses by the organizers: Dr. Juichi Yamagiwa, Dr. Michinari Hamaguchi

At the beginning of the symposium, Dr. Juichi Yamagiwa, President of Science Council of Japan, on behalf of the organizers, said, “There were various discussions held at Gender Summit 10 (hereinafter referred to as “GS10”) in order not to make women status closer to men and raise the proportion of women participating in society, but to realize gender equality and reaffirm the significance of the existence of women in society. Today I am expecting free and generous discussions as a follow-up of GS10, with a new gender perspective that there is other existence of gender than male and female.”, and Dr. Michinari Hamaguchi, President of Japan Science and Technology Agency, said, “There are many Japanese women active at the forefront of the world, including Ms. Reiko Abe whom we invited from India to GS10. To put it the other way around, it means that women can not be active in Japan. Solving the gender problem can be a great motivation to change the cooped-up situation in Japan. I would like to discuss how we can change the Japanese society from now on.” And then Ms. Keiko Takegawa, Director General of Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office, stated, “The active participation of female researchers and engineers in the declining population is crucial for securing the sustainable growth of our country aiming for the world's most advanced science and technology nation, and for solving the problems by creating innovation, and therefore the Cabinet Office is also promoting various initiatives. I expect that discussions will be held also in this forum from a multifaceted point of view to implement continuous efforts on gender equality. ", and Mr. Futoshi Sano, Director-General of Science and Technology Policy Bureau, MEXT, stated, "We in Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) are aware that it is important to improve the environment where women can show their abilities to the fullest in order to stimulate science and technology innovation. The White Paper on Science and Technology 2018 devoted the most space in the past to the promotion of women’s active participation. I expect that female researcher’s active participation will be promoted much more as a result of active discussions and candid opinion exchange at today’s forum, and I would like to reflect today’s outcome to policy planning."

Keynote Speech: Dr. Londa Schiebinger

Dr. Londa Schiebinger, Professor of Stanford University, made a keynote speech entitled “Gendered Innovation in Medicine, Machine Learning, and Robotics”. Dr. Schiebinger stated, at the beginning of her speech, “Gendered Innovations (hereinafter referred to as “GI”) was produced through a large international collaboration involving the European Commission, the National Science Foundation, and Stanford University. GI is about integrating sex and gender analysis (hereinafter referred to as “SGA”) into the design of research. The operative question is how we can harness the creative power of SGA for discovery. Considering gender adds a valuable dimension to research and it takes research in new directions.” And she explained, “There is a background that governments and universities in the US and Western Europe have taken three strategic approaches to gender equality over the past several decades: 1. ‘Fix the Numbers of Women’ focuses on increasing the numbers of women participating in science and engineering. 2. ‘Fix the Institutions’ promotes gender equality in careers through structural change in research organizations. 3. ‘Fix the Knowledge’ or ‘GI’ stimulates excellence in science and technology by integrating SGA into research. ” Dr. Schiebinger also emphasized, “Doing research wrong costs lives and money. For example, ten drugs were recently withdrawn from the US market because of life-threatening health effects; eight of these posed greater threats for women. There are many reasons why drugs fail—and fail more often for women. One reason is that most research is done in males whether human, animal or cells and tissues. It is crucially important to get the research right from the beginning. This is the goal of the GI project which develops state-of-the-art methods of SGA and provides case studies to provide concrete examples of how SGA leads to discovery and innovation.” The following are the main examples of how SGA leads to excellence in research which Dr. Schiebinger shared about medicine, machine learning and robotics.

  • Regarding the field of medicine, Dr. Schiebinger mentioned the study project at Stanford University entitled ‘Gender Variable in Health Research’ where they at Stanford have developed for the past two years the new instrument that captures gender in variables that can be deployed quantitatively in research studies, for example, in clinical trials or large public health surveys. The reason why they have developed this project is, researchers need to consider not only sex differences but also gender - cultural attitudes and behaviors - and how these impact health because sex and gender interact in humans to determine their health outcomes over a lifetime. They were inspired by a Canadian study published in 2015 on Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) in which the team wanted to predict which of their patients would fall sick again and possibly die 12 months after diagnosis, and how they could help them. The study found that this prediction could not be made on the basis of biological sex and that gender matters – patients with a higher ‘femininity’ (gender-related) score were more likely to experience a recurrence of ACS regardless whether they were men or women. Although this was an inspiring study, they at Stanford developed their own instrument to measure gender. Their innovative approach was to move beyond binary notions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ by developing variables that capture specific social behaviors related to gender, and to capture three dimensions of gender, i.e., norms, identity, and relations. Their instrument now consists of 25 items that measure seven gender factors (For gender norms - caregiver strain, work strain; for gender identity – emotional intelligence, independence, risk-taking; for gender relations – discrimination, and social support).
  • Dr. Schiebinger stated, regarding the field of machine learning, “There are many cases where unintentional gender bias is built into algorithms or system software, for example, Google Translate defaults to the masculine pronoun because “he said” is more commonly found on the web than “she said”, and in Google search, men are five times more likely than woman to be offered ads for high-paying executive jobs. The point I want to make is that this unconscious gender bias from the past amplifies gender inequality in the future. It is always harder to fix something once the basic platform is set. So, the big question is: how can humans intervene in an automated process to create the society we want? Gendered Innovation is solution based. Solutions require interdisciplinary teams of computer scientists, lawyers, political scientists, historians, and gender experts to optimize algorithms that guarantee fairness.”
  • Relating to robotics, Dr. Schiebinger mentioned, taking ‘Pepper’ developed by Softbank as an example, the question about what genders a robot: color, voice, name, anatomy, or personality. And she pointed out that the challenge to roboticists is to understand how gender is embodied in robots and then to design robots to promote social equality, and for that purpose, there are at least six options (①Challenge current gender stereotypes ②Design customizable robots, where users pick and choose features ③Design ‘genderless’ robots ④Gender robots according to gender-fluid, egalitarian conventions ⑤Step out of human social relations – the Japanese use a huge teddy bear, for example, to lift patients ⑥Design ‘robot-specific’ identities that bypass social stereotypes).
Dr. Schiebinger showed various examples.

And then, the members who were involved in the planning of GS10 reported and introduced the respective activities for the developments after GS10.
In the first place, Dr. Ryoichi Fujii reported on evaluation methods saying, "Since the increase rate of female researchers is still low, stronger active actions should be taken, therefore the GS 10 working group invited researchers from overseas and had them introduce the best practices on evaluation methods for discussion. Among them, there is a system (Athena SWAN Charter) in UK that evaluates and recognizes the organization’s commitment to advancing careers of women in STEM employment, and this system works effectively under which you can not apply for a public grant for scientific research, etc., without Athena SWAN awards. Having discussed these best practices, the working group made seven recommendations out of which the following were emphasized in particular – ‘Evaluation should be based on scientifically grounded data’, ‘Evaluation should cover three levels: national/legal framework, organization, and individual’, ‘Evaluation should identify clear criteria for the selection, the progression and reward of individuals and organizations’, ‘Government and national funding agencies should include gender equality as one of their considerations and should implement it in their evaluation review systems, and proposals should include previous evaluation results and trends’.
Ms. Yoko Nameki mentioned women’s possibility, stating, “Women’s power brings about synergistic effects in various fields. Innovation that connects knowledge of different fields, such as UBER becoming a competitor of a taxi company and iPhone becoming a substitute for a camera, has occurred in recent years. I would assume that women relatively have this sort of ability. I think we should be aware of the growth in diversity, for example, the fact that Nissan ‘Serena’ is a car of which all the process from design to sales women were involved in, and there are people who can input data more quickly with the flick input of a smartphone than keyboard input, etc. It is not so easy to tolerate diversity, but the important point is that each individual person feels a sense of belonging to their organization. H-type human resources (who have expertise in one area and can also collaborate with the people with different expertise) will be needed in the future, instead of T-type human resources in the past (who have extensive knowledge based on one expertise), and capacity to empathize that women are said to have will make a significant contribution to fostering the H-type human resources. Therefore, women themselves should step out of the ‘comfort zone’”.
Dr. Miho Mitsunari introduced SCJ’s activities, saying, “In 2000 Science Council of Japan (SCJ) presented a proposal regarding the improvement of a working environment for women scientists and issued a statement on promotion of gender equal participation, and has been successful in increasing the percentage of women members. In addition, we at SCJ have been working on gender issues as academic association collaboration / subcommittee activities, and in the previous (23rd) term we were able to co-organize GS10 as a message to the world. The challenge for the current (24th) term is to achieve gender equality from a comprehensive academic perspective (including humanities and social sciences), visualize the activities, and gather data properly. The system incorporating the humanities and social sciences is now being prepared, a homepage has been newly set up, and appropriate data will be gathered by conducting the scheduled large-scale questionnaire.”
And then Mr. Mitsuhiro Abiko, Manager, Office for Diversity and Inclusion of JST, introduced the efforts that JST has made after GS10. He shared interesting data and opinions obtained from the lecturers and panelists at the symposium held on 14th April, together with the situation of dissemination and progress of the results after GS 10, the opinions gained at the opinion-exchanging meetings attended by female researchers, and the outcome of the survey on male and female researchers' views about funding, and also mentioned the schedule of JST's future activities.

The ambience of the venue

After the coffee break, the case examples of Gender Equality Association for Humanities and Social Sciences (GEAHSS), Japan Inter-Society Liaison Association Committee for Promoting Equal Participation of Men and Women in Science and Engineering (EPMEWSE), Shimizu Corporation, LIXIL, and Osaka University were introduced as the activities of the other organizations.
Dr. Kumie Inose introduced GEAHSS and its efforts, saying, “Although gender issues were not quantified so much in the field of humanities and social sciences, we set up Gender Equality Association for Humanities and Social Sciences (GEAHSS) just before GS10 and thereafter the number of the member academic societies has been increased up to 58 (as at 6th June) and exchange among the different fields has also begun. Moreover, we are going to conduct a fact-finding survey on gender equality of the researchers in humanities and social sciences and will make an announcement about the result at the symposium next February. We want to link a relationship among the different fields as well as to introduce good practices of gender equality, to research/analyze gender statistics, and to do outreach activities.”
Mr. Hiroshi Terada introduced the case example of EPMEWSE, the lead managing member of which is Architectural Institute of Japan to which he belongs, stating, “EPMEWSE in the field of natural science was established in 2002 and has been growing to a large committee. We have conducted, as our important mission since the establishment, the large scale survey every five years (the number of questions: some 40, the number of those surveyed: more than 10,000) in order to know the actual condition of gender equality in STEM field in Japan, and the results of the survey are valuable data as direct opinions from the members. We are going to release the result of the 4th large scale survey 2017 (the number of those surveyed: 18,000) at the symposium held on this coming 13th October. We will make proposals to the government in order for the result of the analysis to be reflected on ‘Science and Technology Basic Plan’, and also will make use of the result of the survey to set up our own action assignment such as setting numerical targets for gender equality and defining issues in ‘Leading Initiative for Excellent Young Researchers’. Incidentally, it is possible to collect and feedback the result of the survey extracted only in respect of each academic society. Furthermore, we published a leaflet entitled ‘Understanding Unconscious Bias’ in 2017 because unconscious bias is also a big issue.”
Mr. Terada continuously introduced the case example of Shimizu Corporation, saying, “Although the proportion of women employees is about 15%, that of those in managerial positions is only about 2%, and the ratio by age group actually fluctuates. In the field of architecture, I think it is ideal to aim for a synergistic effect from the perspectives both of men and women to create a space. We have three tasks for promoting the advancement of women: top management’s commitment, change in the way of thinking by women employees, and change in the way of thinking by women managers. And we do the following as the actual efforts: establishing a Diversity Promotion Office to promote diversity and inclusion, joining the Iku-Boss corporation alliance, giving in-house training for women employees in their second year, giving in-house training for the employees who have women subordinates, and awarding Iku-Boss awards and so forth. I think it is the important point whether we can take advantage of the intention of the employees at their respective life stages. Actually, the number of women engineers and technicians has doubled in the past five years.”
Mr. Yoshiaki Fujimori stated, “US began to work on promoting diversity and inclusion about twenty years ago and in 2016 Hillary Clinton ran for the presidential election. In her concession speech, however, she still could not help but use the phrase ‘glass ceiling’. A top management’s commitment is indispensable for companies to eliminate their glass ceilings. In 2013, Japan Association of Corporate Executives announced ‘Action Declaration of Corporate Executives to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment, Development, and Deployment of Human Resources, Aimed at Economic Growth‘ in which they declared to achieve a women’s ratio of 30%, to make efforts by management itself, to work out measures and policies, and to publicize. In LIXIL, we set numerical targets of women’s ratios - 30% at the time of appointment to a managerial position, 30% for new employees and 20% for leadership education – and in fact achieved the targets to good effect. In 2014 we set up a system to have conversations by using Facebook, etc., with the employees who take temporary leave from work in order to support them to come back from childcare leave. We also created women’s networks both in LIXIL and in General Electrics which I used to work for, as the occasion for telling and sharing experiences with each other. In order to eliminate the glass ceiling, it is important that not only companies but also individuals make efforts and take actions and it is necessary for both sides to try to step out of the ‘comfort zone’. Hillary Clinton said, ‘I have spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I've had successes and I've had setbacks. You will have successes and setbacks, too in your lives, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it.’ Finally, I hope that you will also fight for what’s right.”
Dr. Mayumi Kudo introduced the case example of Osaka University, saying, “Osaka University was selected as an organization for ‘Initiative for the Implementation of the Diversity Research Environment’ supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), together with Daikin Industries, Ltd. and National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition (NIBIOHN), which we had been cooperating with from the past. We are promoting the system of industry-academia cross-appointment and joint research in order to provide female researchers and engineers with diverse career paths. We formed the ‘Cluster for Cycle-Oriented Development of Female Researchers’ together with 17 cooperating organizations (as of May) mainly in the northern part of Osaka. Cross-appointment is a system under which Osaka University accepts corporate personnel as an assistant professor, and it is quite beneficial also for the female researchers, the female students and Osaka University, respectively. In addition, we do various activities such as industry-university joint research with a female researcher serving as a leader, career formation support for female students, holding events supporting next generation female researchers, holding symposiums and so on. We are also working with IBM Japan to form a web-cloud based think tank for the corporation of men and women.”

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Presentations by the speakers

Next, a panel discussion was held on the theme of "Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Dispels Our Cooped-up Feeling” by Dr. Juichi Yamaguchi, Ms. Izumi Kobayashi, Dr. Yuko Takahashi, Dr. Hamaguchi (President of JST) with Dr. Miyoko Watanabe (Deputy Executive Director of JST) serving as a facilitator.
At the beginning, Dr. Watanabe, for the purpose of presenting topics to the panel discussion, introduced the GS10 Tokyo Recommendation (BRIDGE: Bride Gender and STI, Bridge SDGs, Bridge All People), the necessity of grasping the problem from broader diversity perspectives than men and women as Gender Equality 2.0, and the activities after GS10 of the related institutions and organizations. And she showed the result of the opinion survey conducted by Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living, and said, “I would like to make the result of the survey an angle of this panel discussion that gender gap and generation gap are particularly noticeable in respect of the question item of ‘I feel no aversion to working under a female superior’, in other words, men and women of higher age group have an aversion to female superiors.”
In the panel discussion, the panelists discussed the matters such as: why there are few women presidents in Japanese universities, the current situation of presidential elections in universities and the proportion of women faculty members together with the ideas to raise it (about fostering top human resources and how to choose candidates), the necessity of the efforts made by academic societies as well as universities and of women themselves acting from the perspectives different from the past to increase the number of women researchers, and creating the environment where one can encourage women and also women can find out the opportunities to work actively, etc.
Also, the panelists expressed their thoughts respectively on the cooped-up feeling in Japan. Dr. Yuko Takahashi said, "There is no culture in Japan of taking risks in fear of failure; you may feel ashamed of making mistakes, and you will take a bashing once you fail." Ms. Izumi Kobayashi said, “In Japan people tend to create rules for everything, and try to be strict in them. I suppose the lack of diversity that the available options are only in those rules is the cause of the cooped-up feeling. As for taking risks, we should come to think that we can get returns by taking good control of those risks.” Dr. Juichi Yamagiwa said, “As for universities in Japan, government injected market principles into universities in the 1990s and forced them to compete with each other, as a result of which free competition has been lost due to strict evaluation and has turned towards uniformization. Similarly, because students have come to give more importance on passing the selective examinations than on sharpening their own abilities, it seems difficult to provide education in order to enable students to establish themselves through knowledge and experience trying to be full of ideas and to develop their personalities to be able to give rich expressions. I wonder if the lack of diversity due to evaluation-oriented thoughts leads to the cooped-up feeling. Dr. Hamaguchi (President of JST) said, “The 20th century was the age of engineering and so standardization was wanted. Although we are now living in the age of IoT and individuality when Asian/African countries are gaining power after the unilateral domination by Europe and US. followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, we in Japan do not try to start discussing diversity, still being caught up in the old view of the world and set of values.”
What can we do to promote diversity and inclusion, and to dispel the cooped-up feeling? Dr. Yuko Takahashi said, “To continue to send a message ‘Don’t be afraid of taking risks and be brave’ to the young generation and women.” Dr. Juiichi Yamagiwa said, “As for gender issues, to produce men who can understand the existence of women properly, and to review idealistically what gender equality actually means and to restructure the understanding of it.” Ms. Izumi Kobayashi stated, “To develop the capabilities of each individual in the organization in order to appreciate the value of diversity and inclusion, and by doing so the problems regarding gender issues and how to take advantage of younger and older generations will be solved. And I suppose there would be possibilities of breakthroughs outside the existing platforms.” Dr. Hamaguchi (President of JST) said, “Japanese people today have come to feel no pleasure and worthiness in living normally. If they can re-acknowledge the real appreciation of being alive, diversity will be naturally generated. Women’s active participations have been inevitable historically, and it is necessary to deepen the discussion much more about how to promote them.” Finally, Dr. Watanabe (Deputy Executive Director of JST) announced that the GS10 follow-up symposium will continue to be held also in the future, and closed the symposium.

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Panel discussion

○Purpose of the Symposium:
The aim of this symposium is to create a track (PDCA) to keep up the continuous efforts related to gender equality by sharing among the related stakeholders the ensuing efforts and progresses, new developments, etc., concerning the various matters discussed in GS10, and by holding further discussions.

○Program of the Symposium
(MC) Yukari Matsuo (Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Hosei University)

◇Opening Address: Juichi Yamagiwa (President, Science Council of Japan)
 Michinari Hamaguchi(President, Japan Science and Technology Agency) ◇Guest’s Address: Keiko Takegawa (Director General, Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office)
 Futoshi Sano (Director-General, Science and Technology Policy Bureau, MEXT)
◇Keynote Speech:
 “Gendered Innovation in Medicine, Machine Learning, and Robotics”
 Londa Schiebinger (John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science, Stanford University)

“Evaluation Methods for Promoting Diversity in Research”
Ryoichi Fujii (President, Research Organization of Information and Systems)
“Benefits on Innovation Expected by Women’s Participation Expansion“
Yoko Nameki (IBM Distinguished Engineer, IBM Japan)
“Activities that Science Council of Japan engages in”
Miho Mitsunari (Vice President, Nara Women’s University)
“Activities that Japan Science and Technology Agency engages in”
Mitsuhiro Abiko (Manager, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, JST)

◇Activities that the Other Organizations engage in and Future Challenges
“Activities that Gender Equality Association for Humanities and Social Sciences (GEAHSS) engages in”
Kumie Inose (Porfessor, Konan University)
“Activities that EPMEWSE (Sciences) and Shimizu Corporation engage in”
Hiroshi Terada(Chairman, Japan Inter-Society Liaison Association Committee for Promoting Equal Participation of Men and Women in Science and Engineering (EPMEWSE) /Executive Officer, Shimizu Corporation)
“Activities that LIXIL engages in”
Yoshiaki Fujimori (Senior Advisor, LIXIL Group Corporation)
“Good Examples of Industry-Academia Collaboration (Joint Research by Universities and Coporations, etc.”
Mayumi Kudo (Executive Vice President, Osaka University)

◇Panel Discussion “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Dispels Our Cooped-up Feeling”
 Juichi Yamagiwa (President, Science Council of Japan)
 Michinari Hamaguchi (President, Japan Science and Technology Agency)
 Yuko Takahashi (President, Tsuda University)
 Izumi Kobayashi (Vice Chairman, Japan Association of Corporate Executives)
 Miyoko O. Watanabe (Deputy Executive Director, Japan Science and Technology Japan)