Photo/Illutration Women protest discriminatory entrance examination practices outside the main gate of Tokyo Medical University in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward in August 2018. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Women’s university entrance exam pass rates at Japanese medical schools have surpassed those of men for the first time, new government data shows.

It follows a major scandal a few years ago in which the government found that several medical schools were doctoring the scales to suppress the number of women who could pass.

The education ministry announced the exam pass rates at 81 public and private medical schools across Japan from spring 2021.

The rate for women stood at 13.6 percent, which is 0.09 point higher than that of men, surpassing them for the first time since the ministry started collecting the data in spring 2013.

A total of 5,880 of 43,243 female test takers passed their exams to enter medical schools in spring 2021.

For men, 8,421 of 62,325 examinees passed their tests, resulting in a pass rate of 13.51 percent.

The previous pass rates of men who took entrance exams to enter medical schools in spring from 2013 to 2020 were higher than those of women by anywhere from 0.74 to 2.05 points.

Also for the first time, fewer than half of the universities had a pass rate for women that was lower than that of the men.

Only 38 of the 81 universities, or 46.91 percent, saw lower pass rates in women than men. Among those who took entrance exams to start at medical schools in spring from 2013 to 2020, women’s pass rates were lower than those of men at anywhere from 46 to 57 universities.

In 2018, 10 university medical schools were found to have discriminated against women by deliberately lowering their entrance exam scores. This revelation triggered an investigation by the ministry, which has since published its results.

The Asahi Shimbun