Activity Report

Report of Gender Summit 15 London 2018

Date: June 18 - 19, 2018
Place: London, UK

  • Gender Summit 15 (GS 15) was held in London and about 200 people participated from 38 countries and regions.
  • In the plenary session, we introduced Japan's movements and efforts after GS 10.
  • We also had a poster presentation about JST's measures after GS 10.

Keynotes - The Myth of Pink and Blue Brain
According to the latest scientific data on the children's brains, there is no gender difference in brain function at birth; rather, brains were greatly influenced by the external environment up to eight years old. Children are required they should be based on gender, for example, girls like dolls and boys want ball playing, supposed to respond to it, and knowing their own roles as they think about themselves. If society members understand the influence of these unconscious biases, we found that it is possible to create a society that makes use of individual abilities for not only women and men but also transgender people. (Lise Eliot, The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science)

Plenary (Day 1)
In the morning session, basic knowledge which is important for both basic and applied research was shared. There were introductions that the sex ratio is biased in tailor-made medication and GWAS (genome-wide association analysis), the importance of clearly recognizing the gender difference and planning the research not only on laboratory animals but also on cell culture, and the marine organisms that are likely to die of extinction due to global warming and acidification of sea water. The data about some fish whose sexes are determined by the environment (temperature, pH, etc.) were shown. Subsequently, there were presentations on biological sex differences and gender issues. The risk of gender not being properly reflected in AI's algorithm, the influence of radiation on the human body differing between males and females (the risk in females is higher), and the correlation between each of the goals of SDGs as coefficients of mathematical research (for example, " 5: gender equality" has a deeper relationship such as "1: no poverty" and "2: zero hunger” than the other goals) were introduced.


In the afternoon session, indicators and evidence for policy planning were introduced. The results of the investigation on gender issues by the European Commission, the introduction of research projects in STEM by each country or UNESCO, and research reports on the gender gap in Latin America and the Caribbean countries were shown. In addition, presentations were shown about leadership; for example, the importance of the leadership of the professors as academic leaders, the leadership in open science, and the ethnic and gender experience and education on disadvantage symbolized by the phrase "solving invisible knapsack". And there was also a presentation about Dementia and Alzheimer's disease and diversity.

Plenary (Day 2)
The second day's session was about the reports on the influence given by the previous GS and the subsequent efforts in each country and region. For example, the report on the preparation progress of the next GS in Singapore, the activities of the African Mathematics Institute after GS 14 held in Rwanda, and the report on GS 11 in Canada were shown. In addition, presenters from Norway, Germany, Chile, the United Kingdom, Elsevier and others reported on scientific concerns about gender equality.


Entitled "Development of GS 10 in Academic, Political & Industrial Society in Asia from Japan", Dr. Watanabe from JST introduced the history of the GS and the terms held in Asia and showed the concept of the “Tokyo Recommendation” (Bridging between gender and science and technology innovation, connecting SDGs, connecting everyone) and “gender equality 2.0” presented in GS 10 in 2017. In addition, she introduced the findings obtained in Japan: (1) the patents produced by the gender blending teams have a higher value in the economy than the patent produced from the male-only teams by 20% on average (from the Japan Development Bank), (2) at Kyushu University, the number of scientific papers of top 10% journal articles per person that researchers who adopted the female framework was larger than the average for both men and women researchers (from Kyushu University). And she also introduced that Japan continues to address this issue through symposiums and workshops held following the GS 10, committees launched, etc., and that JST will cooperate at the next GS as in the Asia-Pacific region in Singapore. At the end, she mentioned the issue of gender equality, which preceded and affected the world in the United States and Europe, is expected to contribute to society sustainability with the hope to realize happiness.

Parallel 1 was entitled "Best Practice from different Programmes and Projects" and there was an announcement on measures in each country. As represented by Horizon 2020, in some programs in Europe the number of female researchers is increasing with certain policy considerations, such as setting clearly the female researchers' participation ratio in planning documents. On the other hand, it was pointed out that the challenge is difficult to judge on how to compare the results of teams with gender cooperative teams and sex difference.

Parallel 2 had presentations on "Fair and Systematic Scholarly Peer Review". The statistics on the review request of the scientific journal from the editors to the reviewers seem to obtain a high probability of choosing the same sex (homophily) when selecting the reviewers by the editors. Also, the fact that the ratio of women among the authors of scientific papers is still about 20 to 30% (about 10% in Japan), and in the energy and earth fields editors of the journal and the editorial woman ratio is very low, and the increase of the proportion of female researchers has only progressed a bit (about 20 to 30%, figures of advanced countries are doubled in Japan) were presented.


In Parallel 8, efforts in each country were introduced, entitled "Changing Attitudes and Perceptions." As one of them, in the educational program targeted at elementary school students by the program promoted by the Department for Promotion of Science Education, JST, the importance of continuing education from the early stage was reported.

Poster Presentation
We had a poster presentation focusing on JST's measures on gender equality. We introduced the points of Japan's trends and gender equality efforts in science and technology after the GS 10, the questionnaire results last December of male and female researchers by JST, and information and recommendations obtained from speakers and participants in a symposium entitled "Future Created with Female Researchers". And we added that we have been studying ways to increase the number of female researchers applying for research and development funds in science and technology.

The other approximately 10 poster presentations were mainly about the measures and projects of various institutions. For example, from Ireland, they discussed about the acceptance of various international students at universities and the secular change of the proportion of women as students and teachers in the physical field. The data show that there are many girls in the upper grades and many boys drop out in the lower ranking, and that the female ratio of research funding is less adoption (20%) than application (23%). Furthermore, parents' influence is great in girls' choice of course of arts or science, and the problem is that parents are unfamiliar with the real society as same as in Japan.


We had a meeting with Dr. Vandana Ramachandran and Dr. Lakshmi Ramachandran (Institute of Medical Biology) who will organize GS 16 in Singapore on August 27 and 28, 2019, and promised full cooperation with them.

Personal Comments;

  • The theme of GS 15 was "United in Science and through Science". The two terms "sex" and "gender" were used (natural science - biological difference and social science - social and cultural difference), and it was impressive that the importance and necessity of being always aware of the existence of sex and gender differences in all scientific research and technology development was emphasized.
  • While the importance of female researchers' participation in the science field gains a certain common awareness, it would be an issue in the future about the need to study how to collect evidence-based data and visualize and evaluate the outcome.
  • In Japan as well, we would like many people to understand that promoting research and development based on the viewpoint of female researchers leads to discovering new fields and new needs and product development. And as JST, we think that it is necessary to take a strategic approach to accelerate female researchers’ activities.

Go to GS15 YouTube playlist of Gender Summit Channel