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Gender Segregation on Campuses: A Cross-Time Comparison of the Academic Pipeline in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan

Yen-Wen Peng, Ginko Kawano, Eunkyoung Lee, Li-Ling Tsai, Kae Takarabe, Miwa Yokoyama, Hisako Ohtsubo, Mariko Ogawa


Women’s participation in science has been a major concern among Western feminists since the 1970s. Numerous European countries have collaborated to publish She Figures once every three years, which collects and compares the basic education and employment statistics for women in science and technology. However, such cross-country comparison is still rare in Asia. In this research, we collected statistics on the composition of students and faculty members in higher education in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan from 2004 to 2014. Then we compared the patterns of gender segregation between European Union (EU) and the East Asia (EA) regions, followed by the comparison among the three EA countries.

We documented that gender participation in science in the three EA countries has basically followed the patterns of the EU nations in terms of decreasing vertical segregation and stabilizing horizontal segregation. However the degree of segregation in EA is higher than that in EU-28, particularly in Engineering. Among the three EA countries, moreover, it is evident that South Korea has made better progress than the other two in the past decade in terms of women’s participation in science, particularly at the Master’s Degree level. Yet the increase of women’s participation does not necessarily eliminate gender segregation in science as both sexes still follow the care/technology division trend in their disciplinary choices, which merits more attention.




Gender and science; higher education; vertical segregation; horizontal segregation; leaky pipeline; East Asia

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