A leading medical university in Japan wanted more male students—so it’s reportedly been lowering the entrance exam scores of female applicants for years.
“Many female students who graduate end up leaving the actual medical practice to give birth and raise children,” a source told the Asahi Shimbun, describing the motivation behind lowering women’s applicant scores. “There was a silent understanding,” the source said, that lowering the scores of female applicants, thus boosting the number of accepted male applicants, would be “one way to resolve the doctor shortage.”
A university official characterized the score alterations as a “necessary evil” and a “silent consent,” according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. The source also said that there was a widely held belief in the surgical department that “it takes three women to serve as one man.”
Following a major increase in successful female applicants—40 percent in 2010—the school began its systemic reduction of women’s exam scores, according to reports in Japanese media. Sources from the university reportedly said that this was done automatically by applying a certain coefficient to all of their scores. The goal was to make sure female students comprised only 30 percent of the class or less, according to NHK, NPR reported. This year, 30 women and 141 men were accepted by the private university.
Dozens of protesters held a demonstration outside of the university on Friday, according to the Associated Press. Signs included messages like “Protest against sexist entrance exams!” and “You trampled on the efforts and lives of women who trusted and chose you.”
There is already an internal investigation into the school underway after allegations of bribery connected to a male student and his father, an official within the education ministry, Reuters reported. University spokesman Fumio Azuma said that the school will “of course” include a probe of exam score reductions as part of the ongoing investigation.