Tohoku University Declaration of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

DEI Vision

Tohoku University Declaration of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Tohoku University Declaration of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

– Working towards diversity and equity in education, research and an inclusive work environment

Since its establishment in 1907, Tohoku University has embraced the principles of ‘Open Doors,’ ‘Research First,’ and ‘Practice Oriented Research and Education’ as its founding philosophy. From the beginning, the university opened its doors to a diverse range of talents including graduates of higher technical schools and higher normal schools. In 1913, Japan’s first female university students entered Tohoku University. This, along with the early acceptance of international students, has fostered an environment and awareness rich in diversity from its earliest days.

Tohoku University led the nation with the establishment of a Committee for Gender Equality in 2001, and issued the “Tohoku University Declaration of Gender Equality” the following year. In 2013, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the admission of its first female students, the university published the “Tohoku University Gender Equality Policy,” which has served as the basis for subsequent activities.

Since then, the university has identified the following seven priorities to help achieve gender equality. They are: providing work-life balance support and improving environment conditions; nurturing female leaders; nurturing the female students; honoring the achievements of women;  facilitating local collaboration; promoting internationalization; and creating a support organization.

As a result of these efforts, from 2001 to 2021, the percentage of female doctoral students increased from 13.6% to 30.9%, and the percentage of female faculty members rose from 5.7% to 18.4%.

However, the ratio of female students and faculty members remains low compared to that of other universities in many parts of the world. There is a strict gender disparity in career paths not only at Tohoku University but in all of academia in Japan. We are, therefore, far from achieving gender parity of 1:1.

In 2021, the “Basic Policy on the Protection of Human Rights and the Prevention of Human Rights Violations at National University Corporation Tohoku University’ was formulated. Its goal is to eradicate “any acts of discrimination based on social status, lineage, race, creed, disability, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity; or any unjust discrimination based on any other reasoning, or any other act that is in violation of basic human rights” (the Basic Policy “3. Definition of Human Rights Violations”). However, respect for diversity is a work in progress.

Building on the various policies established thus far, the “Tohoku University Declaration of Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)” is a commitment to work towards diversity and equity in education and research. It is also a pledge to continue promoting awareness, domestically and internationally, and developing an inclusive environment with systems to ensure that diversity is respected by all members of the university.

Tohoku University will promote Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) based on the following:

  1. Tohoku University will study the ratios of female faculty members and female students in each field in order to close the gender gap; and strive to understand what is needed to better promote women’s activities. Based on information gathered, the university will pursue gender parity by actively recruiting qualified female faculty and university staff, promoting them to appropriate positions of higher responsibility, and training younger generations of female academics throughout the university.
  2. Tohoku University will ensure that all students, faculty and staff can devote themselves to their education, research and work with dignity, respect for individuality and mutual understanding. To this end, the university will conduct awareness activities to dispel unconscious biases related to gender, gender identity/sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, religion, creed.
  3. Tohoku University will provide an environment that guarantees equity, where all students, faculty and staff can feel comfortable and maximize their abilities freely. It also aims to be an inclusive institution where members with varying attributes and personalities are welcomed, supported and valued.