A survey by The Asahi Shimbun found that two national women’s universities and six private women’s universities are considering or plan to begin considering accepting transgender students. Also, 41 schools, or more than 60% of all respondents, said that although they are not taking any measures for such students at present, accepting transgender students is “an issue that needs to be considered” in the future. Women’s universities are increasingly drawing attention as to how they will open their doors to “a diversity of young women.”
Up until now, women’s universities in Japan have admitted students who are registered as female on the family register. But some schools plan to discontinue this practice and consider alternatives, such as allowing applicants to submit medical certificates for gender identity disorder. In the U.S., several women’s colleges have already been accepting self-reported transgender students.
Asahi Shimbun sent questionnaires to the presidents of 76 women’s universities nationwide and received responses from 64. The response rate was 84%.
A total of five schools said that they are “considering” whether or not to accept transgender students who were born male but identify as female. The colleges include Japan Women’s University in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward, which announced a plan to begin giving serious consideration to accepting transgender female students in March, Ochanomizu University also in Bunkyo Ward, Tsuda University in Tokyo’s Kodaira City, and Tokyo Woman’s Christian University in Suginami Ward. Also, three schools said that they “plan to begin considering” accepting transgender students. The colleges include Nara Women’s University in Nara City and Gakushuin Women’s College in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward. Two of the colleges that answered in the affirmative requested that their names not be disclosed.
Ochanomizu University has been studying examination eligibility for students who are not registered as female on the family register since fiscal 2016. President Kimiko Murofushi says, “We are continuing discussions in light of the societal situation and demands.” Tsuda University in May launched a review committee consisting of the president, vice-president, and six others. Members of the committee are discussing examination eligibility, the definition of “female,” and how to deal with students who change their genders while in school. “We can’t recruit a diversity of young women if we only accept those who are registered as female on the family register. We will establish a policy at the committee,” said President Yuko Takahashi.
Also, 10 universities responded that they have received inquiries from transgender students and their parents regarding whether they are eligible to take exams. This suggests that there is potential demand among transgender students to enter women’s universities.