Challenging a Culture of Inequality

Síle Nic Chormaic

Progressive initiatives at a new Japanese academic institution tackle some deep-rooted gender inequities.

figureAn example of one of the OIST Change posters (Síle Nic Chormaic is featured on the left). [OIST]

In the summer of 2011—shortly after I decided to relocate from Cork, Ireland, to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University in Japan—I had lunch with an elderly Japanese professor at a scientific conference in Turkey. I remember that, as I talked with him about my future move, he laughed, and said incredulously, “This is a very unusual decision—not only are you going to be a foreigner in Japan, but you will also be a woman in physics! There are not many foreign, female physics professors in my country.”

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