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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov.)


Creating new knowledge by realizing gender equality in society

A society with gender equality offers opportunities for equal participation in all fields of society regardless of gender. It also assigns shared responsibility to both men and women. Universities play an important role in achieving a society with equal participation from both men and women. For example, universities must enhance the work-life balance of faculty and staff, support young researches, and produce students who recognize the importance of gender equality in society.
In addition to examining action being taken at Waseda University, we will explore the significance of roles expected of universities.


Waseda's actions for gender equality

This article introduces actions for gender equality at Waseda University, including activities at the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality.

Gender equality for true globalization

Miho Saito
Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences
Director of Gender Equality

Gender equality at Waseda University can be traced back to the enrollment of the first female students in 1939. The fact that Waseda was one of the first universities to open all of its undergraduate departments to women truly shows the seed of gender equality which is planted in our university.

In 2007, a year which marked the 125th anniversary of our university, we announced the Waseda University Gender Equality Pledge and were the first private university to establish an Office for Promotion of Gender Equality. The office has been in operation for four years now and has played a central role in many activities for gender equality. For example, our university has acquired project grants from the MEXT for promoting gender equality, improved our environment by opening support centers and childcare centers, held symposiums and speeches with the aim of increasing awareness, provide support for researchers just beginning their career, established courses related to human rights and gender, promoted education and research, disclosed the status of gender equality progress through publications and websites, and held hearings in various undergraduate schools. Furthermore, we cooperated with the Cabinet Office and Shinjuku Ward to hold a symposium entitled "Ability to Live Confidently and Independently (Career)-Economic Participation and Independence of Women" as a site event for the APEC Women's Leadership Work Assembly, which was part of last autumn's APEC Japan 2010, the first APEC meeting held in Japan.

Publication by the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality

Currently, Waseda University is focusing on globalization by accepting many foreign students from throughout the world while simultaneously sending Japanese students abroad. It is our ardent hope that diverse students that possess global knowledge and an international perspective will ultimately contribute to the happiness of mankind. One thing is for certain-our university will never achieve true globalization if such students do not embrace the concept of gender equality which is naturally spreading overseas. At the same, in order to cultivate students who embrace gender equality, it is important for faculty, staff and even parents to understand and show awareness towards the concept of gender equality.

I will continue to give my best effort in the future, diligently moving forward one step at a time so that beautiful flowers will bloom from the seed of gender equality which was planted at Waseda University long ago. Specifically, in addition to cooperation between undergraduate schools within our university, I hope to enhance partnerships with other universities and to conduct activities for promoting and raising awareness towards gender equality, diligently advance such activities one step at a time.

By the numbers: Male-female ratio of individuals composing Waseda University

*In the category of full-time staff only, the number of women decreased from 223 (28.3%) in 2001 to 185 (23.1%) in 2011.

Spread of gender equality across our campus

Systems & environment

Diaper-changing table

Waseda University has established a variety of systems and facilities in order to support balance between the life events and work (study) of faculty, staff and students. In addition to maternity leave, child-raising leave and nursing care leave, systems for faculty and staff include welfare benefits projects and insurance projects which offer support plans for a variety of life events. Our university is working to enhance the contents of such systems and to establish a workplace environment in which all faculty and staff can use such systems without hesitation or unease.

In terms of facilities, a portion of campus restrooms are equipped with baby chairs and diaper-changing tables. Separate nursing rooms for infants have also been established. Furthermore, the "Waseda University Student-Faculty-Staff Daycare Center," a temporary childcare facility which can only be used students and full-time faculty/staff, was opened this May. This daycare center is in addition to "Poppins Nursery School Waseda," an existing nursery school certified by the city of Tokyo.

System details (for faculty and staff)
maternity leave
 Maternity leave can be taken for an 8-week period prior to childbirth and an 8-week period following childbirth.
child-raising leave
 In order to support the development of young children, child-raising leave can be taken until a child reaches an age of one year (the leave period can be extended in some cases).
nursing care leave
 Nursing leave can be taken for a cumulative 1-year period per family member requiring nursing care.
Other systems
 include discounts for babysitters helping with child-raising, subsidies for home helpers, and social welfare package services.
User voice
Using the child-raising leave system
Koji Miyoshi (Full-time library staff)

I took 3 weeks of child-raising leave because the birth of my first son coincided with my eldest daughter's transfer of nursery schools. During child-raising leave, I took care of my daughter and did some of the housework. I was able to reduce the stress felt by my wife, who was unable to sleep soundly because of caring for our newly born son. I hope that it will become easier for many faculty and staff members to use the system.

Work-Life Balance Support Center

Parents and children can take off their shoes and relax in the tatami mat area.

The Work-Life Balance Support Center is located in Building No. 60 on the Nishi-Waseda Campus. All faculty, staff and students can use the center regardless of gender. The center supports balance between a variety of life events and educational research, work and study. It also provides career support for graduate students and young researches. The center contains a nursing room for infants, a tatami mat area and a consultation room. In the consultation room, experienced counselors provide individual advice regarding career formation and lifestyle issues such as work-life balance. The center also contains a library with materials on career support and work-life balance. The library can be used freely by anyone.

Facilities within center

Consultation room, nursing room, tatami mat area, interactive area, library/materials room, office space, etc.
*Children can also be brought to the center for lunch or to wait while their parent holds a research meeting.

User voice
Using the Work-Life Balance Support Center
Hitomi Tsutsumi (Visiting Instructor, Faculty of Science and Engineering)

I became aware of the support center when I saw a poster. At that time, I was experiencing morning sickness associated with the initial stage of pregnancy. After giving birth and taking maternity leave, I used the nursing room at the center and discussed child-raising with other staff. The center was a very reassuring presence for me. I hope that the center will continue to be a strong ally for students, faculty and staff during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Symposiums, lectures and other events

Continuing from last year, the Office for Promotion of Gender Equality is holding a lecture entitled "Work-Life Balance Lecture by Helpful Husbands-Fathering will change society!" The lecture is conducted by fathers who actively help with child-raising and housework. The office is also holding an "Assertion Lecture" for increasing interpersonal skills and a seminar regarding nursing care for the elderly, as well as a screening of helpful DVDs and a lunch meeting which aims to promote interaction among participants.

Furthermore, this year marks the 7th time that the Career Center is holding "Discover the Future You!", which is an event to provide career support for female students. A popular feature of this event is discussions regarding work, marriage and child-raising. Female graduates of Waseda who now work as professionals in society are invited to participate in these discussions. Throughout the year, Waseda University also provides a variety of other opportunities on campus for considering the concepts of gender equality and work-life balance. For example, there are career events for female graduate and undergraduate students, as well as lectures on topics such as preventing sexual harassment held by the Harassment Prevention Committee.

*For a schedule of future events, please visit the website of the Office for the Promotion of Gender Equality

Pick Up

For female science students
Career Design Seminar (scheduled)
Date & Time:
December 21st (Wed.); 12:30 to 14:00
Nishi-Waseda Campus, Building No. 60, Room #214

In order to continue works as a researcher in the future, participants will study important points in strategic career formation which considers life events such as childbirth and child-raising.
Sponsored By:
Office for Promotion of Gender Equality
WASEDA Rikoh-girls

A pamphlet has been published in order to introduce female students who are conducting scientific or engineering research at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The pamphlet features comments from female students involved in a variety of research fields, as well as a Q&A section and information on fields in which researchers can have active careers in the future. A portion of the pamphlet can also be viewed at the following website.

WASEDA Rikoh-girls Website