When Robin Sakamoto became dean of the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Tokyo’s Kyorin University in April 2014, she was only the second foreign woman to be awarded a deanship at a Japanese institution.

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The value of role models such as Dean Sakamoto is not to be underrated. Surprisingly, only 15% of full professors in European institutions are women, against a female employment rate of 36% working in universities overall. This suggests that if there is already a shortfall of women in academia, much more encouragement is needed to help them rise to the top. And as Sakamoto points out, only by working closely side-by-side can male and female academics alike find a fulfilling balance between professional success and family life.


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