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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

What is "Gender and Science"?

Mr. Yusuke Yasufuku
1st year student in the Master Program of the Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering

How many people know the meaning when they hear the world "gender"? What kind of relationship exists between "gender" and "science"? To be honest, I did not know the word "gender". This lecture provided my first experience with gender.

This lecture began from the current academic year as a part of the Promotion of Gender Equality at Waseda. A different Professor spoke at each lecture that was held, and students studied "gender and science" from a variety of angles. The current academic year was separated into a series of 4 lectures. The first lecture, conducted by Professor Mariko Ogawa (Mie University), questioned whether science is value neutral and gender neutral from the perspective of scientific history. The second lecture, conducted by Professor Naomi Wakasugi (Faculty of Political Science and Economics), used a medical perspective to explore gender theory relating to relationships between AIDS, FGM (female genital mutilation), and reproduction. The third lecture, conducted by Professors Atsuko Takamatsu and Mitsuo Umezu (Faculty of Science and Engineering), used the perspective of a researcher to discuss the existence and current condition of female researches. The fourth lecture, conducted by Professor Ryoko Uchida (Faculty of International Liberal Studies), focused on evolution and life from the perspective of physical anthropology.

To begin, what is the male/female composition at Waseda? Waseda is a university with many females. However, the ratio of females in the School of Science and Engineering is at 30% for students but only 10% for faculty and staff. In some cases, there are no female professors in certain departments. In the future, Waseda is expected to produce female researchers and increase female faculty/staff in the field of science and engineering, based on the philosophy of the Promotion of Gender Equality.

Students who study science and engineering have little opportunity to consider the issue of gender, and recognition of gender among most of these students starts from zero. Students who are somewhat interested in "gender and science" can gain new values and ways of thinking by taking this lecture. Also, even if students have no interest in the subject, the existence of gender in modern society may change as a result of more students learning about gender.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)