Men, Women & Tech in Japan

In Japan, a huge gender gap exists in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Women have to achieve way more than men do to enter a good school and be hired in a company. Also, interests seem to be different depending on gender. Why is that? Why are men and women not equals facing technology or science? 

Brain Differences?

According to Mentorist DaiGo, there are ‘female’ and ‘male’ brains and 15% of men have a female one, while 10% of women have a male one. The ‘male’ brain is supposed to be more logical (‘This is the way it is, it will always be, so the result will be this’) and the ‘female’ brand to be more intuitive. However, many women succeed better than men for engineering or technology courses, and even more over the years. A study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the United States showed that they had better results than men. Therefore, the reason why fewer girls work in those fields is more a question of interest than a question of capacity.

Question of Interest

If we look into other brain studies, the part that leads to addiction is activated at a much higher level for boys than for girls when they see people playing video games. Women seem to know better than men when they should stop playing and they are less subject to game-related disorders (according to a survey by the Pew Research Center). 41% of male teenagers admit spending too much time on games opposed to 11% of females only. However, women are more subject to social media addictions than men and spend more time on them. 

Source: EDAMAME.

Source: App Ape.

Partly because interests are different depending on gender, and because companies use the tendency to addiction of men and make many games for them, many women have few interest in video games. For example, Japanese female players seem to be more interested in completion and fantasy while males prefer competition and destruction.



Concerning engineering and other jobs in the STEM fields, more than interest, women lack models. The Japanese Cabinet Office’s 2017 White Paper on Gender Equality reported that only 10% of engineering researchers were women. Therefore, many don’t believe in their abilities or hesitate a lot before studying those subjects. Besides, sexism restricts job or study opportunities, especially in Japan. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, Japan is the 121st out of 153 countries in terms of gender parity.

Because of its aging society, however, Japan would have no choice but hiring more women. It is the oldest country in the world, with a population median age of 46.3 years old. A quarter of people are 65 years old or more. Thus, the ‘Womenomics’ program was launched by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013. Since then, the government incites women to work, while traditionally women in Japan are housewives. Some ideas are criticized, like pink bathrooms and machines to make construction jobs attractive for female workers. But the main reasons why women don’t choose jobs are sexism and a lack of models. Things will change thanks to the aging society, but slowly – and many robots are created to replace workers.

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