The Ugly Truth to Fewer Female Doctors in Japan

The medical field has long been dominated by men. Well, in a sense as the uncomfortable truth that most doctors are male and nurses are female comes naturally to many of our environments.

I recall taking a module on Critical Discourse Analysis in NUS where my professor was a feminist. She once recounted an unpleasant experience at the doctors with her mother regarding which she took offence. Her mother had been feeling unwell and after researching herself, she found that it could be symptoms of a particular ailment that isn’t a common word any random guy on the street would know. After the doctor checked her mother, she told the doctor that she suspects it could be this particular ailment she found. The first response the doctor gave was, “Oh, how did you know that term? Are you a nurse?” She snapped and said, “Why can’t I be a doctor? Is it because I’m female?”

Regardless of which side you stand on, the point is, there are indeed a lot of male doctors around. Then brings the point where women are paid less than men and there are arguments that rather than sexism and oppression, women tend to make decisions that bring them less income. Uber, for one, has big data to show that to be the case. They noticed that male drivers were “more likely to drive in higher paying locations, were more likely to drive faster, were more likely to accept trips with shorter distances to the rider, and were more likely to choose to drive longer trips.” Further, “women also have higher turnover on the platform, and more experienced drivers tend to get higher pay.” That could be attributed to more women being less inclined to want to compete and choose harmony. But that’s besides the point because Tokyo has recently gotten themselves into a huge scandal that brings oppression of women to light again.

This sexist scandal has all along been known to doctors already in practice and is the reason why far fewer women are doctors in Japan. At the university entrance examination, all applicants’ results go through a two-phase manipulation process.

  1. Multiply by 0.8 (to give them 80% of their actual score)
  2. Add points based on their status and gender

While #1 still appears to be “fair” in the sense that everyone gets only 80% of their actual score, the problem comes in #2. This is what the scoring chart looks like.

That reads:

  1. Male students first attempt: +20 points
  2. Male students second attempt (who retook once): +20 points
  3. Male students third attempt (who retook twice): +20 points
  4. Male students fourth attempty (who retook 3 times): +10 points
  5. Male students fifth attempt (who retook 4 times): +0 points
  6. Female students: +0 points

First, this criteria is already unfair discrimination. And the greater abomination is that, while there are different criteria for male students, female students get a straight 0 just by virtue of being female.

This means, even if a girl scores 100 points, she will only be awarded 80 points, while male students who retook up to 2 times can still score 100 points. And that also means, if these male students score only 80 points, their over all score multiplied by 0.8 + 20 points will be 84, still higher than a female student who gets 100 (and only awarded 80).

It appears that many in the medical field are aware of it and 65% say they see the reason for this scoring system, which is odd. How can you “see the reason” for sexist behavior?

All this started due to a politician who enrolled his son into the school unfairly and that resulted in audits done at the school uncovering this shit. And it appears that’s the trend going on in Japan for many years now. I see this as a positive note as rather than just resolving the reported issues, auditors do in-depth research to dig out other unlawful practices. If this continues, the nation can only get better and provide a conducive environment for everyone.

While Japan still has a long way to go in gender equality and it’s hard to get the older generation raised in such culture to suddenly change and be liberated from this narrow view, the country does appear to be changing for the better.

Slowly but surely.

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