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Japan seek to increase female STEM majors at colleges

Posted June. 09, 2015 07:24,   


"Rikezo, or science and engineering women"

This term, which refers to women who study science or engineering, emerges in the Japanese media recently. Female students currently account for only 10 percent of students enrolled at engineering college in Japan. These days, social mood urging more women at female engineering majors is spreading across the island country.

According to the Daily Yomiuri on Monday, a café catering exclusively to women who majored or are majoring in science and engineering will open in Shibuya, Japan on June 20. The café will operate as an ordinary café but will transform into one exclusively for female science and engineering majors during weekends. All workers at the café are students who are majoring in science and engineering, and they will work there wearing lab coats. Beverages will be served in a test tube or beaker.

Female secondary school students who seek to study engineering can use the café, free of charge. Ordinary people can also enter the facility by paying about 2.30 U.S. dollars.

Since the ratio of females is far lower compared with males at science and engineering colleges in Japan, they lack colleagues of the same gender to hold frank dialogue with. The purpose of the café’s establishment is to enable female science and engineering students to exchange information on study, employment and marriage with each other. Dakahashi, junior at Tokyo University of Science and employee at the café, said, “There are many things that female science and engineering students can share and sympathize with each other. We can also hear about study in other subjects.”

Media and companies are also extending support to the campaign to nurture female science and engineering majors. The Asahi Shimbun started carrying a series of reports dubbed "Portrait of science and engineering women" that introduce images of women who are active in diverse fields of science and technology. Toyota established a fund dedicated to female engineers in collaboration with more than 10 of its affiliates last year.