An Urgent Social Equality Problem

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Updated: Mar 01, 2020
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The Tokyo Medical University scandal hadcaused a gender discrimination sensation in Japan. In Greg Wheeler’s article, he describes theways in which TMU manipulatedadmission test scores to limit enrollment. Secondly, he argues that intense competition, high requirements and the short career of women doctors lead to the practice of TMU, the same goes for other medical schools (lack of conclusive evidence now). Then he introduces the responsibilities of TMU officials and suggests measures to be taken. Clearly, TMUwas severely criticized and its top priority is to regain the trust of people applying for admission. TMU has brought economic and admission incentives to students who were affected before. What’s more, the author thinks that the transparency of the university admissions process, or the question and the answer to the exam should be more public. However,many universities won’t adopt this policy at present.In Greg Wheeler’s article, he made an almost comprehensive analysis of the TMU, but he didn’t explain clearly what the root causedof the scandal was and what radical measures should be taken.

In Japan, medical school is usually the most famous and most selective, so the number of applicants for admission is understandably high. However, this inherent competitive nature does not justify TMU’s gender discrimination. Furthermore, officials in TMU believe that female graduates are leaving early to increase the workload and stress of the remaining doctors, this maybe sounds reasonable. But that alone is not enough to make women feel unfair in the entrance exam. The most fundamental reason is that TMU officials have discriminated against women. In their opinion, women had little option but to stop working after giving birth. In fact, not only officials but also many people in society discriminate against women, according to TIME (2018), “giving birth and raising children is still considered a woman’s main contribution to Japanese society. This view is deeply ingrained.” In the other hand, External money and power also have a certain effect on the entrance exam, based on The Mainichi(2018), scores improved significantly for those who had donated to the university. Therefore, the author considers almost all the reasons. The TMU entrance exam scandal is caused by the sexism of officials and the influence of external interests.

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In addition, Japanese misconception about woman’s social contributions is deeply ingrained.So, what caused such a deeply ingrained misconception in Japan? Since ancient times, the inequality between men and women is a common phenomenon in class society. The different social division of labor determines the different status and role of men and women in social production. In modern society, such inequality still exists. Under the background of Japanese capitalism, different ownership systems and social division of labor still exist. Moreover, the imperfection of traditional social ideology and social system also contributes to the inequality between men and women. Therefore, the misconceptions are deeply ingrained.The author later stated what recommend actions should be taken by TMU in response to the scandal. So faras he concerned, using economic compensation means is a reasonable choice, those with lower test scores will be reimbursed 60,000 yen in application fees. However, it’s is not fair to students whose scores have been lowered. Students are affected by social injustice, it’s the loss of the school examination system, students are affected by the loss of the time and the psychological trauma, so TMU can’t use the money to regain public trust. On the other hand, a more effective measure should be a combination of economic compensation and examination preference.

As the author views, offering an opportunity which can bypass the exam and directly proceed to the second stage to the student who scored high enough on stage one of the entrance process. But this may bebad for new students, and there is no good effect on students who were previously discriminated against earlier. Also, TMU plans to reduce the total cost of a student’s six years in school, that may be encouraging. However, not all students will benefit from it, the best course of action for TMU should be to clean up its internal operating system, eliminate its gender discrimination, and take the lead in the medical school field. So far as it goes, it is a long-term and sustainable solution for TMU. At the end of the article, the author mentionedhis proposals for a future way to avoid this kind of incidents, but they have limitations. Improving the transparency of admission procedures will naturally enhance the credibility of the school. On the contrary, releasing the whole content of the exam, which is subjective, will cause a lot of potential controversies, and it will alsoaffect the reputation of the school, so many universities won’t take this policy at present. According to Tanaka and Kinkozan(2018), TMU is not the only university to have discriminated against women.

So, the TMU admission test scandal is not only a school problem but also an occupational and social gender discrimination problem. It is worth reflecting not only on TMU but also on the existence of gender discrimination in the whole society of Japan.In addition, some women have succumbed to the idea that housework and childcare are primarily their responsibility. Based on Zhao Jing (2012), “In traditional families where men dominate, fathers or husbands have high authority, while mothers, wives and daughters are only their accessories.”Therefore, the most effective solution is to improve the female’s sense of independence and improve social policies. When the overall quality of women improves, they know how to use the law to protect their own legitimate rights and interests, but the law is only the cornerstone of rights protection, self-improvement is an important means to strive for equality. A survey by Norris and Inglehart (2005) on the progress of women’s political participation around the world shows that women in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea enjoy below-average political support.

Without a voice in the political arena, it is difficult for women to defend their rights. Therefore, good social policies should enable women to receive equal treatment with men in society and political, and both sides should have equal status in the family. Housework and childcare are not only the responsibility of women but also the responsibility of both sides, because family is the product of both husband and wife.In conclusion, the author made a nearly complete analysisof the scandal of TMU,but he missed the basic social perspective that led to the scandal, as well as the political and social analysis of the response.

The TMU scandal is rooted due to society’s misconception of women’s contribution to society, and then this misconception is due to the different social division of labor and an incomplete social system for a long time. According to Hiroko (2006), “strivento broaden their involvement in political activity.” When women are able to speak on the political stage, they can more effectively maintain their own rights and interests. When the social division of labor can be coordinated, female employment discrimination will be corrected.Therefore, only by improving the political system, coordinating social division of labor and enhancing women’s consciousness of independent subject can we solve the problem of social inequality from the root.

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An Urgent Social Equality Problem. (2020, Mar 01). Retrieved from