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Med School Officials Accused of Altering Women's Exam Scores

Tokyo Medical University accused of changing scores of female applicants to keep numbers low
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2018 3:47 PM CDT
Major accusations against officials at a Japanese medical school.   (Getty Images/PeopleImages)

(Newser) – Shinzo Abe has vowed to promote women in the workplace—called his "womenomics" platform by some—but a new report in Japan's largest newspaper shows a major university seemingly trying to flout the prime minister's plan, per the BBC. In a Thursday expose, an anonymous source tells Yomiuri Shimbun that school officials at Tokyo Medical University had a "silent understanding" to keep the number of women accepted to the school at less than 30%. How the officials allegedly implemented this discriminatory plan: by changing test scores of female applicants, the source says. The women's exam scores were reportedly reduced between 10% and 20%, per the Japan Times. The report notes only 30 women were accepted this year to the university, while 141 men nabbed a spot.

The rumored reason for the alleged anti-woman initiative—which the source called a "necessary evil," per Quartz—is the belief that women are more likely than not to ditch their plans to enter the medical field after they graduate to raise families instead, leaving hospitals understaffed. The strategy to reduce the school's female demographic was reportedly started after 2010 admissions showed women making up 38% of total accepted applicants, the AP notes. An education ministry official tells the Asahi Shimbun that colleges actually can set whatever gender ratios they desire, as long as those quotas are made public; that didn't seem to be the case here. As commenters on social media continue to rail against the university in the wake of the report—one post said the accusations veered "beyond a matter of outdated mindset"—the school has promised to look into the allegations. (Read more Japan stories.)

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