The history of gender equality, Meiji University
Meiji University was one of the first universities in Japan to recognize the need to give women the opportunity to pursue a legal career, and in 1929 began to enroll female students into a specially-established Women’s Department at the University’s School of Law, as well as in other specialist fields such as Commerce.
The Women’s Department that was created by Yokota Hideo (the then President of Meji University), Matsumoto Shigetoshi (Dean of the Women’s Department) and Hozumi Shigeto (Member of the Steering Committee for the Women’s Department) produced Japan’s first female lawyers (including Kume Ai, Mibuchi Yoshiko and Nakata Masako) along with many other graduates who subsequently rose to prominence in legal circles, such as Tateishi Yoshie, a member of the first graduating class who later became a Professor in the School of Law at Meiji University. Following the end of the Second World War, the Women’s Department was restructured as a junior college, but rather than emphasizing the cultivation of “good wives and mothers” as many other junior colleges did, the Women’s College of Meji University sought to make a serious contribution to women’s education in the field of social sciences.
In 2004, the newly-established School of Information and Communication inherited the traditions and heritage of the former Women’s College. In 2010, the School of Information and Communication established a Gender Center to serve as a base for the coordination of projects linking the School’s research, teaching and social concern activities. The Gender Center undertakes research in a wide range of gender-related areas, and strives to make a positive contribution not only to education and research at Meiji University but also to the building of a society in which people of all kinds can live together harmoniously.
Building on this tradition of valuing women’s education and fostering gender research, in 2009 a University-wide Gender Equality Promotion Committee was established, followed in 2014 by the establishment of the Center for Gender Equality and Diversity, Support Office which works to promote gender equality.
In addition, in regard to the provision of support for female researchers, in 2014 Meiji University was selected to participate in the implementation of the MEXT Program to Supporting Research Activities of Female Researchers, and is now working to bring the gender equality environment – in terms of teaching and research activities – up to an even higher level.