Women participants are infrequent. There is still very limited opportunity in Japan for women in science. In one project, Okayama Cell Switching, there were proportionally more women. This project was unusual. There was no rigid "group leader" structure. All scientists were equal and knew that their success would be based on their work. This structure was likely due to the influence of the project director, who had spent a significant period of his career at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). (Even the laboratory layout, including equipment and desk space, was similar to the labs at NIH.) At this project the members of this panel were very impressed with Dr. Ishihara, who summarized the overall project for the group. She is the only female so far who has taken a leading role in an ERATO project. Several other ERATO projects include women, but in most of them the women serve primarily as technicians. The panel's impression is that women scientists in Japan feel there was little opportunity for growth beyond postdoctoral positions like those in ERATO projects, so presumably they would most likely need to go abroad to continue their scientific careers.

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Published: September 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian