International Conference/International Exchange

International Conference/International Exchange

International Conference

Japan Network of Women Engineers and Scientists and The Japan Inter-Society Liaison Association Committee for Promoting Equal Participation of Men and Women in Science and Engineering: 9th Japan Korea China Women Leaders Forum for Science & Technology

Date:October 11, 2019

Place:Ochanomizu University’s Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza /

The Japan Korea China Women Leaders Forum for Science & Technology, which is dedicated to increasing the number of women scientists and engineers, building environments in which they can be active, and discussing the fostering of leadership and other such issues in the three countries, was held in Ochanomizu University’s Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza. Including its first convention in 2008 in Seoul, Korea, this was the ninth Forum.

Organizations for women scientists in STEM-related fields in the three countries play a central role in the Forum. In Japan, that role is fulfilled by the NPO Japan Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (JNWES).

The recent Forum focused on the topic of Gender Equality for Sustainable Development Goals. There were three main sessions, at which presentations were given on the current state and ongoing efforts related to the topic in the three countries.

The poster session

Participants from Japan, Korea, and China

Session 1: Evaluation Systems for Gender Equality Activities

There were presentations on the current state of gender equality in Japan, Korea and China, as well as systems for evaluating it.
From Japan, there was a description of the Ochadai Index.

The Ochadai Index is a self-evaluating index to measure employment environments for research and educational institutions. Its aim is for institutions to work at improving employment environments by using this index in conjunction with the “Cosmos Work Book,” which is a summary of methods for building employment environments that women researchers find it easy to work in.

While progress in Japan has been made in hiring women researchers and creating environments that support them, the number of women that fill senior positions is still small. The number of women directors in particular is very small. The Ochadai Index was presented as a good example of ways in which gender equality is actually being promoted at universities.

Session 2: Career Development Programs for Next Generations

As an example of an initiative in Japan, Rie Yamaguchi, a consultant on post-maternity leave issues, presented a practical report on two seminars, namely a re-instatement seminar for women who wish to return to work after maternity leave, and a seminar for corporate managers and administrators.

Following this, a report from China detailed how, in Shanghai, the notion that both the husband and wife should work is the norm, and that 80% of young women engineers are married, 70% have children, and that the social mechanisms are in place for women to both advance their carriers and lead good homelives.

The report from Korea discussed how the Korea Federation of Women’s Science & Technology Associations (KOFWST) is playing a central role in efforts to help women enter and advance in science and engineering fields, and in the fostering of women scientists who will one day become leaders in society. As concrete examples of initiatives, seminars such as a leadership program for young people in which scientists visit schools and give book talks, thereby presenting women scientists as role models, were outlined.

As a similar example in Japan, the Natsugaku Steering Committee, which is led by the NPO STEM Career Path Project for Girls(GSTEM-CPP) and NWEC cooperate to hold the Summer School for Girls in Junior and Senior High Schools (Natsugaku) program. This experience-based two-night, three-day camp-style seminar, in which girls in junior and senior high schools from around the country gather at NWEC, aims to get young women to learn about the appeal of the sciences as an option and to broaden their thinking about educational path options and career development through interactions and exchange with science researchers, engineers, university students and graduate school students. Every year the program is rated highly by the participants.

The subsequently held poster session showcased initiatives such as these in Japan and abroad. Graduate students who served on this year’s Natsugaku Steering Committee were seen speaking passionately about Natsugaku with guests from other countries.

A discussion at Session 2

A presentation on a next-generation career development program in Korea

Profiling Natsugaku at the poster session

Session 3: Role of Chemistry for SDGs

Women researchers from Japan, Korea, and China drew on their respective fields of expertise to give presentations on how chemistry could contribute to the attainment of SDGs.

There were presentations on efforts by the Chemical Society of Japan, research in forensic chemistry in Korea, and green chemistry in China, all of which were of great interest.

In remarks at the closing ceremony, Fusako Utsumi, President of NWEC, which was also a supporting organization, concluded the successful Forum by stating, “In fields of science and engineering there still remains an unconscious bias that they are men’s fields, but at today’s Forum I was again given a real sense of just how many women are active in science and engineering fields. It has shown that women can also be successful in science and engineering. I think that this Forum has helped to empower such women.”

NWEC President Fusako Utsumi delivering closing remarks

International Cooperation