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Increasing the Number of Women in Engineering at Universities and Colleges in Japan

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

WIED Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.860.1 - 22.860.12



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Paper Authors


Emiko Hirose Horton Shibaura Institute of Technology

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Emiko Hirose Horton has been teaching English over 20 years in universities in America and Japan. She is currently teaching at a university of engineering. She is a member of the Dean's office and is working on various administrative issues as well as teaching general and technical English courses.

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Kumiko Miki Nihon University

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Kumiko Miki has been teaching chemistry over 20 years at university of engineering in Japan. She is a member of JSEE and core member of group for women's engineer of that.

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Increasing the number of women in engineering at universities and colleges in Japan The Japanese Society for Engineering Education (JSEE) is an organizationwith a membership of 209 educational institutions (universities and colleges) and91 leading corporations and has been contributing to the improvement of engineereducation since 1952. In 2010, a working group from the JSEE, comprised of agroup of female teachers from member universities and colleges and femaleengineers from member corporations, conducted a survey on the presentconditions of women in engineering in Japan The survey examined the ratio ofmale and female students as well as the ratio of male and female faculty members,the number of institutions which have a task-force section for increasing femalestudents numbers and/or female faculty members, the ongoing recruitment effortsto increase female students, and the support for work-life balance in theworkplace. Increasing the number of female students in engineering fields is a difficultproblem in Japan as well as in the US. Japan will face a serious labor shortagewithin 25 years due to the decline of the birth rate and the massive retirement ofthe baby-boomer generation. The overall number of women working in Japan hasbeen rising, but the number of women in engineering is not increasing at the samepace. The number of female engineering students has also been increasing in Japan,but it is still a minuscule amount and insufficient to enable an increase in thenumber of female engineers. The fact that the population of female students in engineering fieldsremains so low involves various issues such as problems in math and science in theearly stages of education, negative influence or lack of influence of parents, noclear career images of woman engineers, a lack of a career-oriented mentalityamong young women, lack of support in work places. This paper introduces the current statistics of Japanese women inengineering universities and colleges and corporations in Japan, and looks at theefforts being made by the universities and colleges to increase the number offemale students and faculty members. The authors also illustrate the obstacles toincreasing the number of women entering engineering fields. Improvement maytake time to be realized, but the number of women engineers will not increaseunless the need for change is voiced.

Horton, E. H., & Miki, K. (2011, June), Increasing the Number of Women in Engineering at Universities and Colleges in Japan Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18141

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