Japanese university investigates claim that it downgraded women’s test scores

The practice was allegedly designed to reduce the number of women accepted to study medicine.

Search for this author in:

Protestors gather in front of Tokyo Medical University

Protesters gather in front of Tokyo Medical University.Credit: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/AFLO/Alamy Live News

A prominent Japanese medical school is investigating reports that staff allegedly altered test scores to reduce the number of female students accepted onto its degree course.

According to an article in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, staff at Tokyo Medical University allegedly started altering the results of its entrance examination in 2011 to keep the number of female entrants below 30% of all students.

An anonymous source at the university, quoted in the article, said the practice was motivated by the belief that many female graduates leave medicine to raise children.

A university spokesperson told Nature that it would not comment on the allegation until the investigation, now underway, was finished. They said the results of the investigation would likely be released in early to mid-August.

The allegations have caused outrage in Japan, where female participation in the workforce is considerably below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has spoken of the country’s need to increase the number of female workers to boost the economy.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05903-6

Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.