Sexism

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Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 11 Jan 2014, 16:17

I am opening this forum to debate sexism in the Vulcanus program.
I have read that last year the only placement in architecture had as a requisite MALES ONLY, which signified the exclusion of all female applicants from architecture, construction and civil engineering fields.
I'd like to ask someone to confirm this, since this year's placements are not yet available.

How can it be that a program funded by the EU, which has very clear policies about discrimination, has discriminatory measures that prevent females from participating in the most prestigious exchange program in Japan??
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Re: Sexism

Postby Airdawg » 11 Jan 2014, 16:50

Hi, lucia.

I understand your concern and I heartly agree with you.
Last year's selection by gender (in general, not on a single domain) is as follows: 76% men, 24% women.

Unfortunately, although the program is funded in a percentage of 55.(5) by the EU, the japanese companies have the final word over who gets placement. Regarding this, there is something else you need to know: Japan is currently on the 105th place in the world at gender equality.

Although I'm sure many companies take the selection process very seriously, others simply choose a student based on looks or other trivial things (read more on the former forums).

Attached are maps of selected students from former years to further your study over the matter.

LATER EDIT: Statistic for last year's shortlist: 24,6% women (30), 75,4% men (92)
Attachments
map2011-2012.pdf
Map of participants 2011-2012 session
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map2012-2013.pdf
Map of participants 2012-2013 session
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Re: Sexism

Postby yez » 11 Jan 2014, 18:39

A male only requirement is indeed quite sad, but I fear, as Airdawg said, their selection criteria are sometimes not as one would expect (but can even be encountered in European companies). And they are, after all, decided by the company and not the EU. I assume, the EU/Japan Centre rather goes with this exclusion for now (and perhaps get the company to change), rather than argue with them and never get them to participate. Since even Europe doesn't have that clearly enforced rules, I doubt they will start with Japan. Also, perhaps the company would like a female participant, but simply can't place them in a project, cause the clients would lose the respect (not that this is much better). It is an extremely intricate problem.

Even if its not written in such a blatant way (male only) anymore, its hard to enforce a rule where companies consider female applicants the same way as male (e.g., IMO enforcing a 50/50 would be an example of the wrong way to go). Anyone who has followed Vulcanus for a bit, knows that the companies always have the final world and that might include that they do what they feel like. An article by a female participant told her selection criteria: she looked the nicest (as in smile). Another story I heard, was that they simply asked the current participant where he comes from or what he studied and used that as a criterion.
But I guess that doesn't account for all involved companies.

Two things I actually wanted to say:
i)
"Last year's selection by gender (in general, not on a single domain) is as follows: 76% men, 24% women."
My electrical engineering course has never had more than 15% female students, mostly <10%. Compared to that it seems like fair amount of female participants (which of course might not be true for other courses and countries). That is based on the assumption, that the female student perform similar to the male student. Though if they are excluded right of the batch, that sucks pretty much.

ii) You want to go Japan. This is what you will get; this program is not about changing Japans culture by enforcing selection criteria. What are your reasons for doing Vulcanus, work in Japan in the future? Be able to cope with foreign relations (Japan) in a European company?
That is what you should expect. I am not saying its good, but thats kind of intercultural communications -- and sadly female are in a bad position.
When you go to Japan, you are suddenly the minority. You might encounter racism for the first time in your life, even if its normally just "innocent racism". Someone I know was recently in India, the only white guy at a local university. Basically he was treated as a Zoo attraction, presented by the University: "Here look at the white guy we have". Pretty abasing, but even that could happen with you in Japan.
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 11 Jan 2014, 19:28

I appreciate your comments. They offer a lot of insight on the reasons why this happens and the Japanese reality. I thank you for the data you provide too!

I'd like to also give my opinion, esp. addressing a couple things that have been said:

Vulcanus is not only applying for a job in Japan: If a woman (or a european student with limited knowledge of Japanese for that matter) applies for a job in engineering in Japan on her own, she knows what to face. However, if she applies for a scholarship based on merit and motivation funded by organisms that have guidelines regarding sexism, she should expect otherwise. "This is what you should expect", yez, is something I can't agree with.

I am copying here the official selection criteria for Vulcanus:
"They are selected on the basis of their academic record, the opinion of their tutors, their knowledge of written and spoken English, their motivation, their attitude to EU-Japan relations and their ability to adapt to a different culture."

In spite of this, I accept that the companies and their projects have the final word. But being faced with the reality of knowing I am sending my application totally in vain and irregardless of all the official criteria is quite different.

It means that a female architect, construction or civil engineer (a large field in industry, isn't it?) cannot be awarded the most prestigious scholarship/traineeship in Japan.
And by the way female students outnumber males in architecture faculties all over Europe!

Also, awareness of gender cultural issues is in fact, as yez says, an important skill at communicating with a different culture. But Vulcanus shouldn't block anybody based on it. In fact, isn't Vulcanus about overcoming racism in the Japanese buisness world, giving Europeans a chance to work there that they otherwise could not have? Why is it different with sex?

About yez's "ii)", I'd like to say that my readiness to face racism and sexism is personal and not what I am talking about. But personally, having lived in the Middle-East for quite some time, I am not put-down.

I am really looking forward to seeing the placements (why are they still not available by the way?), hoping that this year they will have have improved in this respect.
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Re: Sexism

Postby yez » 11 Jan 2014, 23:25

luciatahan wrote:However, if she applies for a scholarship based on merit and motivation funded by organisms that have guidelines regarding sexism, she should expect otherwise. "This is what you should expect", yez, is something I can't agree with.

I am copying here the official selection criteria for Vulcanus:
"They are selected on the basis of their academic record, the opinion of their tutors, their knowledge of written and spoken English, their motivation, their attitude to EU-Japan relations and their ability to adapt to a different culture."


Mmh, I was only trying to refer to the cultural situation of Japan, not the Vulcanus program by itself (and I guess I put it in an unclear way). Really, don't get me wrong, I am all for getting the rules changed her. But as you say yourself later on, the hidden (cultural) agenda, for what ever reason they impose it, will not be affected.

Perhaps the Japan/EU centre should take a stance (at the price of possibly losing that company over it); have you tried talking to them about this - or you plan to do so in the future? I'd be interested on their official statement concerning this matter.

luciatahan wrote:In spite of this, I accept that the companies and their projects have the final word. But being faced with the reality of knowing I am sending my application totally in vain and irregardless of all the official criteria is quite different.

Sadly, that is quite often the reality with Vulcanus from what I can see. Those are the -minimum- criteria. But there a lot more factors involved, and I guess the decision process is sometimes quite unfair (though one would not always know). I, too, wish that there would be no female exclusion agenda for some placements. Even without, you can have perfect grades, voluntary work experience etc.etc., but there might just be this one guy/gal who happened to work on exactly such a project as posted and gets the gig. After all, a thousand people get boiled down to 30.

Last time, they selected a placement for me to apply for, for which I didn't have qualifications (i think they picked something blindfolded). While I changed the main placement to apply for, I pretty much knew, I was out.

luciatahan wrote:It means that a female architect, construction or civil engineer (a large field in industry, isn't it?) cannot be awarded the most prestigious scholarship/traineeship in Japan.
And by the way female students outnumber males in architecture faculties all over Europe!

Also, awareness of gender cultural issues is in fact, as yez says, an important skill at communicating with a different culture. But Vulcanus shouldn't block anybody based on it. In fact, isn't Vulcanus about overcoming racism in the Japanese buisness world, giving Europeans a chance to work there that they otherwise could not have? Why is it different with sex?

Yea, but they can't force a company to participate. Its not the decision of the EU/Japan center to exclude female or male. I guess they rather just take what they can get (at least that is my impression). However, at the cost of allowing gender discrimination... which is arguable.

luciatahan wrote:About yez's "ii)", I'd like to say that my readiness to face racism and sexism is personal and not what I am talking about. But personally, having lived in the Middle-East for quite some time, I am not put-down.

Ah, sorry. That was meant as a general you, not you personally. One should expect that stuff in Japan. A "male only" is just giving a glimpse of what might sometimes happen in Japan (or at other places in the world).

luciatahan wrote:I am really looking forward to seeing the placements (why are they still not available by the way?), hoping that this year they will have have improved in this respect.


Last time they were published pretty late as well.
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Re: Sexism

Postby Airdawg » 11 Jan 2014, 23:52

Offtopic, highly speculative: Maybe they'll post the list on Monday (last time they posted it on the 9th, a weekday), maybe they already posted it, but misplaced it (the website changed servers and structure last year). I'm also checking very regularly for it.
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Re: Sexism

Postby Ephel » 12 Jan 2014, 15:56

I don't know if it's true that last year a company explicitly said that they were accepting male cundidates only, BUT, if it's true, I think the following about it:

Maybe it's a bit strange, but even being a female, I'm not against a company clearly stating that they'll accept only male candidates: this way I'll avoid wasting my single chance of joining the program applying for that company.

It would be really worse if EU-Japan forced them to remove this restriction: they could simply discard women's CV and look only those sent by men. Nobody would know, and the discrimination would just be bigger (since stating from the start that you cannot have that placement gives you the possibility of asking for another one, while accepting you CV just to trash it doesn't).

Also, the following from Yez is my exact reasoning:

yez wrote:i) "Last year's selection by gender (in general, not on a single domain) is as follows: 76% men, 24% women."
My electrical engineering course has never had more than 15% female students, mostly <10%. Compared to that it seems like fair amount of female participants (which of course might not be true for other courses and countries).


While here in Bioengineering there are more female than male students, it doesn't seem like in any other field of Engineering (not in Physics or Mathematics) there are more than 10% female students. Even accounting for bioengineering and architecture, I highly doubt that the ratio of male/female applicants in last year Vulcanus was 50/50.

I suppose we're more rapresented in Vulcanus that in our home Universities for the simple reason that between female students of scientifical fields there is an higher percentage of motivated individuals than in their male counterparts (this is not a gender difference, is just that a woman who lacks motivation to study in a scientific field will hardly do so, while a man could still do it out of social expectations or anyway without thinking much about it).
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Re: Sexism

Postby Ephel » 12 Jan 2014, 16:02

I forgot to comment about this:

luciatahan wrote:It means that a female architect, construction or civil engineer (a large field in industry, isn't it?) cannot be awarded the most prestigious scholarship/traineeship in Japan.
And by the way female students outnumber males in architecture faculties all over Europe!


You're right, that sucks.
Still, the problem I see here is more about the fact that they drastically reduced the number of architects that could join the program. I've read in blogs from past editions about female architects getting placements, so it's not the norm to exclude them.

I hope this year there will be more placements for everyone :-/
Looking the number changing from 45 of some years ago to the 25 of last year is a bit scary.

Having more companies would also reduce the gender issue, even with some companies asking only for males (if that really happened), at least if they're not all the available companies from a specific field!

[Actually, if they escluded that company because it asked only for male participants, they would only have cut out all architects, construction or civil engineers from Vulcanus, both male and female. That would have been less sexist, sure... but...]
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 12 Jan 2014, 19:08

Here is a graph from the EuroStat showing the distribution of male-female university graduates in Europe-27.
It shows that in Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction "three quarters of the students were male" (Tertiary Eduacation Statistics wiki, Eurostat)
The graph also shows that more than one-third of students in Science, Mathematics and Computing are female.

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/File:Graduates_from_tertiary_education,_by_field_of_education_and_gender,_EU-27,_2010_(1)_(1_000).png

This leaves us with an approximate average 27,5% of female students in the fields relevant to Vulcanus.
That number is still above the 24% of female students participating in Vulcanus quoted before (in spite of the motivation/excellence issues commented by Ephel before that would justify a higher percentage of female Vulcanus participants than the average number of graduates).
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Re: Sexism

Postby Ephel » 12 Jan 2014, 20:27

luciatahan wrote:Here is a graph from the EuroStat showing the distribution of male-female university graduates in Europe-27.
It shows that in Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction "three quarters of the students were male" (Tertiary Eduacation Statistics wiki, Eurostat)
The graph also shows that more than one-third of students in Science, Mathematics and Computing are female.

Do you also have a bit less aggregated data?
We could use them with the percentage of placements for each field over the years (found in the booklet made to celebrate "15 years of vulcanus"


luciatahan wrote:This leaves us with an approximate average 27,5% of female students in the fields relevant to Vulcanus. That number is still above the 24% of female students participating in Vulcanus quoted before

As for last comment made, I object calling your estimated 27,5% as significantly different from the 24% who got into last year (from any statistical point of view I think I'm quite right here).

Statistical analysis was invented exactly because if you chose 100 people randomly from a big population composed of one half of male and one half of female it's quite unlikely you'll get exactly 50 males and 50 females.

luciatahan wrote:(in spite of the motivation/excellence issues commented by Ephel before that would justify a higher percentage of female Vulcanus participants than the average number of graduates).

Or it could explain why we are perceving the female population in this universities lower than it is: more males enter the university, but the percentage of males who do not complete their studies could be higher than that of females.
If that's the case, it would be good that the same percentage (something around 25%) gets into vulcanus (at least they're not sexist against males :-P).
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 12 Jan 2014, 22:29

I totally agree with your objection, it is definitely not very significant a difference! BUT it proves that the situation you were describing (way more female representation in Vulcanus than in universities) is quite different from the reality. This is what I was trying to prove, cause it bugs me when people claim that barely any females study engineering/science.
The graph comes from the raw data found here (gives raw numbers and you must load the fields your are interested in):
http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=educ_grad5&lang=en

The graph with students (and not only graduates) does show what you say. But it would be less useful for comparison with Vulcanus, since people who are on track to graduate are the ones more likely to qualify for a Vulcanus, no? Here's the graph though:
http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/File:Students_in_tertiary_education,_by_field_of_education_and_gender,_EU-27,_2010_(1)_(1_000).png
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Re: Sexism

Postby Ephel » 12 Jan 2014, 22:50

Wow, thank you for the raw data :-D
In the next weeks I'll have some university exams to do, but as soon as I have some free time I'll start playing with them!

Well, "barely any female" it's different from "10-15% and rising"!
[And rising so fast that it seems we're now more near to 20-25%, but I'm quite sure that in many fields the number is still lower than that :-/ ]

IMHO, the important thing is what meaning we give to this numbers.
Until we get to 50/50 in all fields of science, I'll continue to say that we're doing something wrong in children's education... but at least it's a bit less wrong than 50 years ago (which was still better than 50 years before).
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Re: Sexism

Postby reteka » 12 Jan 2014, 23:15

I still remember that architect offer just for men, if I recall, the problem was that the company lodging was only for men, yeah, very "japanese".

But still the sexism is something constant in Japanese society, I read from time to time blogs of European women that live there for work or because they married a japanese, and is shocking how all of them describe how society works there, how society treat those that not follow the invisible rules, and how they have sometimes to remember who they are because they start to act how japanese society wants ... is not always like this, and fortunately with time japan will be a less sexist place, or so I like to think.
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 13 Jan 2014, 13:43

Guyyys the placements are available!!
Not all yet, though. No male only stuff (and no architecture) so far!
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 16 Jan 2014, 00:48

Airdawg wrote: Japan is currently on the 105th place in the world at gender equality.


Can you say where this comes from? It would be very interesting to know.
I have just checked the latest Gender Inequality Index and was stunned to see that Japan ranks 21st.
For comparison, UK ranks 34th. Is this possible?

I have by now read a bit more about gender inequality in Japan and it really does seem blatant. I am quite surprised. Any ideas?

Link to the Gender Inequality Index (by default the countries are sorted by Human Development Index Rank, but you can see the GII rank and sort them by it if you wish): https://data.undp.org/dataset/Table-4-G ... /pq34-nwq7
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Re: Sexism

Postby Ephel » 16 Jan 2014, 07:59

I had wrote a beautiful and incredibly long post about this, but now I'm deleting it all to just give you some souces.

The 105th position that was quoted comes from this "Global Gender Gap":
http://japandailypress.com/japan-ranked ... t-2538544/

But I don't think this correctly rappresent gender (in)equality in Japan. For instance, the same list puts China at 69th place, and that's a country where the killing of female infants has been (and is) so common for so long that nowdays men have troubles finding a wife!
Japanese society is very strange, and it's hard to evalutate with our standards.

Japanese women have access to education and can have a career (if they decide to forfait making a family -.-). While the chinese governement is now running a campain to prevent women to get higher education (which could make them choose not to marry, a thing that would worsen the problem for young men willing to marry).

Here some more detailed sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Japan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Career_woman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism_in_Japan
http://injapan.gaijinpot.com/live/learn ... -in-japan/

I also want to add that gender inequality is not religion-driven (the main divinity of Shinto religion is female!), but tradition-driven. This gives a lot more hope for a change.

[If you really want me to write something, but not the 20 pages I was going to post before, you should say something more precise than "any ideas?" :-P ]
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Re: Sexism

Postby zannen » 01 Feb 2014, 04:21

The reason why many companies in VinJ choose not to accept female trainees is because they have male only dorms. Since the company doesn’t know how special you are, they are not going to go in to the trouble of finding and paying accommodation elsewhere. Zannen.
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Re: Sexism

Postby Ephel » 01 Feb 2014, 21:12

zannen wrote:The reason why many companies in VinJ choose not to accept female trainees is because they have male only dorms. Since the company doesn’t know how special you are, they are not going to go in to the trouble of finding and paying accommodation elsewhere. Zannen.


If it happened for an error last year is ok for me, but EU-Centre should do its best to avoid that all places for a given field (in this case, architecture and civil engineering) are male-only (or female-only, if there was a risk of that)... I'm not talking about rejecting that company, but to try and get at least another one which will provide also placements to women.

I hope that the problem last year was due to the small number of placements and that it won't happen again this year (when we have something like 80% more placements available).
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 11 Mar 2014, 14:36

any shortlisted members have new insight on "male only" requirements, or anything else related to the topics of this thread?
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Re: Sexism

Postby castig » 11 Mar 2014, 15:52

All we know is there are 3 placements only for male participants, because they only have male dorms.
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Re: Sexism

Postby luciatahan » 14 Mar 2014, 13:36

I see, thanks castig. Do those three include all architecture placements?

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