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Narratives of Female Academics in Japanese Higher Education
- Jennifer Yphantides (Lecturer at Soka University)
- Kristie Collins (Associate professor and Department Head for the English and Liberal Arts Program at Reitaku University)
- Reiko Yoshihara (Professor at Nihon University)
Despite the fact that women obtain the majority of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, their under-representation in higher education leadership is a global phenomenon. In Japan, the skewed academic gender balance is recognized as a national problem and the government has set a goal to raise the number of female academics to 30% by 2020. Here, women currently hold 24.8% of full-time university teaching positions. Join three experts in education, gender and teacher identity as they discuss the journeys, trials and successes and uncover the anxieties, discontent, powerlessness, and even despair of both Japanese and foreign women in Japanese higher education. Jennifer Yphantides and Kristie Collins explore to what extent foreign female academics are being welcomed into and succeeding as leaders in Japanese higher education. Jennifer traces the career trajectories of foreign women leaders in TESOL while Kristie chronicles her own long and twisty path to landing a tenured position at a Japanese university. Reiko Yoshihara turns attention to the academic precariat, reporting on the account of a Japanese woman who became a part-time instructor of English in several Japanese universities, left teaching, and subsequently returned to the teaching profession. By situating Japan as being at a unique intersection between a market-based neoliberal society and cultural gender ideology, she sheds light on the issue that women are underestimated in Japanese academia. At the heart of this discussion, the presenters ask, do categories of gender, age, and/or foreign nationality work for or against us?
Lecturer at Soka University
Jennifer Yphantides is a lecturer at Soka University. She has been teaching English as a foreign language since 1993. Her career has taken her to Europe, The Middle East, and Asia and she has been teaching at the tertiary level in Japan for more than a decade. She has a Doctorate of Education and researches teacher identity and women in higher education leadership.
Associate professor and Department Head for the English and Liberal Arts Program at Reitaku University
Kristie Collins is an associate professor and Department Head for the English and Liberal Arts Program at Reitaku University, in Kashiwa, Japan. Her research focuses on the media representation and lived experiences of single women in the U.S., Japan and Canada, and her monograph, The Marginalized Majority: Media Representation and Lived Experiences of Single Women (Bern: Peter Lang) was published in 2013.
Professor at Nihon University
Reiko Yoshihara (Ed.D) is a professor in Nihon University. Her research interests include feminist pedagogy in TESOL, teaching about gender issues in English as a foreign language contexts, and teacher identity. She has published The Socially Responsible Feminist EFL Classroom: A Japanese Perspective on Identities, Beliefs, and Practices (Multilingual Matters, 2017).