Recruitment and Promotion of Female Faculty Members through the Hokudai Positive Action Scheme

20% by 2020 (The “Triple Twenties Plan”)

This is a plan to increase the proportional representation of women in research at Hokkaido University to 20% by the year 2020. Currently, among the total number of researchers carrying out research activities based at Hokkaido University, including not only full-time faculty such as professors, associate professors, lecturers, and assistants, but also academic researchers and contract staff funded by grants and endowments (approximately 2,600), the proportion accounted for by female researchers is 13.0%, or around 340 members. To break this down, while women account for only 10.9% of the full-time staff and a mere 3.8% at the professorial level, the proportion of women in unstable posts such as adjunct faculty and academic researchers is 21.0%, achieve the target proportion of 20%.
While promoting the further participation of women in adjunct faculty and academic research positions that support the university’s education and research, together with full-time faculty, we wish to promote the recruitment of women among full-time faculty more than anywhere. While we must admit that increasing the number of female faculty amidst cutbacks in the total number of faculty will be very difficult, we will persevere without getting caught up in these short-term difficulties and continue our support with a goal of still achieving our long-term objectives. (All numbers in this section are current as of January 2014)

Toward the Active Recruitment and Promotion of Female Faculty Members
The Hokudai Positive Action Scheme

The Hokudai Positive Action Scheme, by covering half of the labor costs borne by the department with funding from the university’s overall operations budget, is a system that compensates departments who hire new female faculty members. This allows departments to economize on labor relative to the recruitment of male faculty, putting the savings toward faculty promotions, personnel increases, or otherwise the appointment of part-time lecturers. This scheme began with personnel hired in AY2006.

When “positive action” (a term that combines “positive discrimination” and “affirmative action”) is enacted in support of numerical targets, there will inevitably be debate that calls into question the validity of positive action, such as “can we really simply increase numbers?” and “isn’t this reverse discrimination against men?” It may be said that the importance of increasing the number of women in faculty and research positions is expected to have many effects, not limited to increasing the number of familiar role models and moderating the sense of isolation for women, as well as raising awareness by shaking up the atmosphere in research and education. We want to carry out Positive Action in a manner acceptable to both men and women, as stipulated in Hokkaido University’s “Medium-term Goals and Medium-term Plan”! It is out of this powerful idea that the Hokudai Positive Action Scheme was proposed.

In this way, the Hokudai Positive Action Scheme shows great promise for the continuous and effective recruitment of female faculty members, while respecting the highest priorities of faculty recruitment, namely the departmental autonomy, impartiality, and quality of staff as educators and researchers.

In addition, while the Hokudai Positive Action Scheme continues to be applicable to new hires for the time being, there have been proposals that it should also be applied to the promotion of female faculty members, and we would like to push for such a realization in practice.