1. History of the NIG Gender Equality Office
NIG was known for its large number of female researchers until recently (Why so many female researchers at NIG? 2005 Japanese article). Since the male-dominated 60s, Drs. Tomoko Ota and Akiko Morishima had greatly contributed to NIG for more than 30 years until their retirement.
The above article suggested that it was their high reputation as prominent scientists that attracted many female researchers to NIG. In addition, the article pointed out the fair open recruitment of independent associate professors and the favorable research environment in relation to the successful recruitment of female researchers.
Within 10 years of this article being published, the environment surrounding researchers has markedly changed. The independent associate professor position has become common in Japanese academia. Other universities and institutes actively recruited female researchers, whereas NIG did not take any positive action, thereby reducing the proportion of female researchers to the "normal" level (Statistical Data about Gender Equality at NIG).
To overcome this deadlock, the Research Organization of Information and Systems (ROIS), which NIG belongs to, launched the "Promotion Program for Research Activities of Female Researchers" in AY2014-2016 with Japanese governmental support by JST/MEXT. Accordingly, a local branch office was established at NIG. It originally started as “The Office for Female Researcher Support”. As the name suggests, the mission of the office was to support research activities of female researchers. During this program period, we organized lunch meetings and seminars based on the needs among female researchers.
After the program finished in March 2017, we renamed the office as the “NIG Gender Equality Office”, which aims at responding to the demands of both female and male workers in different positions. Benefiting from the long history of active female researches, our new mission is to prepare an environment in which all workers at NIG can fully exercise their abilities.