By Yuki Iida

The Male to Female Ratio in the University of Tokyo

Male and female ratio seen from the everyday cafeteria scenery. Photo by author.

Male and female ratio seen from the everyday cafeteria scenery. Photo by author.

Have you ever looked around, say, in the cafeteria, and noticed how many more men come into your sight than women? The University of Tokyo has a female population below 20%, which reflects the social views and customs that restrain the will for women to enter it.

The male to female ratio of the University of Tokyo is extremely unbalanced. According the University’s enrollment chart, the female percentage varies in the department from 9.6% at minimum in the undergraduate Engineering and the maximum 37.9% in undergraduate Education course.

Japan has a male to female ratio in the student body of 40:60, but other advanced nations have higher female proportions. In the UK there is an almost 50:50 ratio and the US have a female dominance in the student population that is even alerting New York Times journalists. Japan technically is able to provide higher education to more females like them, but there are still some traditional views that work on women’s psychology that draws them back from attending the top colleges and universities.

Though the number of females is increasing in a steady pace, there are still very few females in the top universities such as the University of Tokyo. According to a female student in the University of Tokyo, males are more aggressive than females when it comes to getting better education for getting better jobs. She thought the stereotype of To-dai being more of a ‘guy thing’, added on to the alternative option of being a housewife instead of working, were some of the core reasons female students feel hesitant to take the chance and apply to To-dai.

This thought may have come from the inequality between the sexes, as it can be seen in the fact that Japan ranks 98th out of 135 countries covered in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. One aspect taken up by this report is the working environment, such as the difference in the total income of males and females and maternity help. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reveals that females can only receive 70.6~77.5% of the male’s income and many women leave their workplace as there isn’t enough maternity support such as flexible working hours.

The “Promotion Committee of Gender Equality” was established in the University of Tokyo in 2002, and contributed to gradually increase the female enrollment in the student body and in the faculties. Female students covered 7% of the undergraduate students in 1992, 17.1% in 2001, and 18.3% in 2012. Even so, there is still a long way for the University of Tokyo to have a completely gender equal community. There are attempts such as the scholarship given from next year to non-Japanese female students, to increase the rate of female in the students and in the in order to promote gender equality, but there are more basic things we need to fix.

In order to attain more females in the University of Tokyo, there is a need to change the society’s view on gender. The ancient stereotypes must be broken along with preparing proper foundation for females, such as the maternity and childcare support through new facilities and work hour adjustments, so they may prosper in the society after they get their higher education, and have more will to enter the University of Tokyo.


“Enrollment.” The University of Tokyo. The University of Tokyo, 01 May 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/about/data/enrollment.html>.

“The University of Tokyo.” JUMP. N.p., 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://www.uni.international.mext.go.jp/university_list/tokyo/Data/Index/>.

“「平成23年版 働く女性の実情」(概要版).” 厚生労働省. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyoukintou/josei-jitsujo/dl/11gaiyou.pdf>.


2 thoughts on “The Male to Female Ratio in the University of Tokyo

  1. This is indeed a big problem with the University of Tokyo as well as the whole Japanese society. To increase female students, one thing we can do right now, I think, is to spread more female To-dai students’ voices to the society. Not only about study, but we should also introduce wider aspects of the campus life, i.e., how female students are ‘happy’ here in To-dai. Building up a positive image with the campus life for the both gender is important to attract more female students. People should have known that To-dai is a good place to study. The key might be on the other aspects of life.

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