I’ve been working for almost 10 years in academia, in a variety of countries, along a variety of cultures and ways of thinking, which I happen to love. I am now in a researcher at a top Japanese University. Although I have a passion for many things Japanese, slowly, I’ve been becoming more and more aware that Japan is a highly conservative and sexist society. Loving this culture makes it hurts more when situations like this happen in contexts where the thinking should be more evolved.
Unfortunately I have to share an office with a professor that is one of those “in your face sexist” older japanese men. In a casual conversation, he told me with a big smile that he believes women are genetically different from men because they tend not to challenge established ideas. This men has several students and subordinate female academic staff working with him. He also worked some years in the West, but clearly did nothing to his way of thinking about women. In another occasion he told me it was my responsability to clean the office we share. He also told me after I didn’t immediately pick up a delivery from my boss, because I didn’t know it had arrived, he told me off by saying that I should improve my communication with my boss. As soon as I started my position, he made sure to tell me I was only in his office because he allowed me to. The examples go on and on. I am just thankful I don’t work with him directly and my are of research is nowhere near his area of research, but it makes me angry people like this can still do whatever they want with women in 2020.