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AKIPRESS.COM - Just a seventh of scientists in Japan are female, government figures show – the lowest rate of any developed nation, despite being a record high for the country, Bangkok Post reported.
The survey comes amid a high-profile row in Japan that has pitted a young female researcher against the scientific establishment, and after repeated calls for Tokyo to boost female participation in the workforce to help plug a skills gap in the economy.
A nationwide study by the internal affairs ministry found that in March last year there were a record 127,800 female scientists in Japan, accounting for 14.4 percent of the total and up 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.
Despite being a personal best for Japan, the percentage is the lowest among countries with comparable data in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
In Russia it was 41.2 percent in 2012, 37.7 percent in Britain in 2011, 34.9 percent in Italy in 2011 and 33.6 percent in the United States in 2010.
The Japanese figure, released Monday, is also lower than Germany's 26.7 percent, France's 25.6 percent and South Korea's 17.3 percent, all in 2011.
Economists and commentators around the world agree that Japan's well-educated women are underused, with many dropping out of the workforce when they have children and few returning to their careers.
Japanese Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to focus efforts on boosting female participation in the labor force, which lags well behind that of many other developed economies.