Writing the Next Chapter
Every year in Sendai, the cherry blossoms mark the start of a new academic year. They also celebrate many other new beginings.
Tohoku University was the first university in Japan to admit women in 1913. And this year, two female executive vice presidents were appointed for the first time in our history. I’d like to introduce them.
The new Executive Vice President for Research is Professor Motoko Kotani. She is a renowned mathematician who had previously served as Director of the Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR) and as Executive Director of RIKEN. She is currently a member of the Japanese government’s Council for Science, Technology and Innovation.
I’d also like to introduce Dr. Miwako Doi, who is our new Executive Vice President for Data Strategy and Co-creation. She is serving concurrently as an auditor of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and Executive Director of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology. Dr. Doi was formerly the chief technology officer at Toshiba Corporation’s Research and Development Center.
The participation of women in the decision-making levels of an organization adds important voices of diversity and balance. I believe that these two extraordinary women will not only bring with them their research expertise and international mindset, but also add unique perspectives to the leadership group.
In the decade between 2009 and 2019, the percentage of women among postgraduate students at Tohoku University increased from 25.44% to 29.33%. The percentage of female faculty members (positions higher than research associate) increased from 9.75% to 14.83%. Our “glass ceiling index,” which measures where women have the best chance of equal treatment at work, improved from 0.25 to 0.5. So where once only one in four women would continue their research in academia, today it’s one out of every two.
When Times Higher Education (THE) released its annual list of top Japanese universities for 2020, Tohoku University was ranked number one. Among the reasons for the top ranking is our focus on global education and our strong engagement with society. In addition to having a strong tradition in community outreach and application-oriented research, we are also committed to the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) and “Society 5.0” as promoted by the Japanese government.
We are currently living in challenging and uncertain times due to the global spread of the coronavirus. In our search for solutions, it’s more important than ever that we have the contribution of diverse voices so that we can support all aspects of society.
I look forward to working closely with Professor Kotani and Dr. Doi.
Director of TUMUG
Related Article :
＜News＞ Prof. Motoko Kotani and Dr. Miwako Doi have become the new Executive Vice President of Tohoku University.（TUMUG Web）