Japanese government initiatives to promote diversity in the research environment

The Office of Diversity Promotion was established on December 1, 2016, based on a proposal submitted by RIKEN under MEXT’s initiative to promote diversity in the research environment.
For the purpose of enhancing diversity in the research environment and achieving more creative research outcomes, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has launched an initiative to support female researchers and their activities. The program calls for organizations and institutes to establish, implement and make public, goals and action plans for diversity, and to make it easier to achieve work-life-balance in the research environment so as to enhance the research skills of women in research, and to actively hire women researchers as well as to appoint them to higher ranking positions.
Diversity in the workplace stimulates intellectual activity, leads to the creation of new industries and new values, and serves as a driving force for innovation. RIKEN’s diversity initiatives not only serve to enhance the place of women in science but also tie in to our efforts to maximize research outcomes and promote creative scientific activity leading to innovation.

For more information on the Japanese government’s initiative to promote diversity in the research environment, see http://www.jst.go.jp/shincho/josei_shien/en/index.html

Our activities are based on RIKEN’s mid- to long-term plans and objectives, as well as Japan’s laws on the promotion of women’s participation and advancement in the workplace, and measures for the fostering of future generations. Our objectives are as follows:

  1. Increase the percentage of women scientists in positions of leadership to more than 10%, and provide a research environment that will help women to continue their research even as they go through major life events.
  2. Increase the number of women scientists within diverse research fields. Currently 36% of all research personnel at RIKEN are women, and we will strive to maintain and eventually increase that ratio.
  3. Firmly establish as normal practice, robust childcare and family nursing care programs that extend beyond minimum legal requirements; provide substitute staff to fill in while researchers are on leave; allow for flexible work start and end times.
  4. Aim to have zero-turnover due to childcare and family nursing care needs; achieve and maintain gender equality in the securing of grants-in-aid.

Our tasks are to

  1. 1.Lay the groundwork for a research environment that promotes diversity
  2. 2.Assist in enhancing the research capabilities of women
  3. 3.Enable the proactive appointment of women to high-level management positions