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IAC News No.42, April 2016

Japan Society of Civil Engineers  International Activities Center April. 1, 2016 IAC News No.42

Reiko KUWANO, Ph.D.
Diversity Committee
Professor, the University of Tokyo

Diversity Committee of JSCE

JSCE holds 37,284 members (as of March, 2015), one of the largest academic societies in Japan. Female members account for 4.3%, 1,592 members, which tripled compared to the figure of 20 years ago. The women share in student members is now 11.9%.

The Diversity Committee of JSCE was first inaugurated upon the visit of Ms. Patricia Galloway in 2004, when she became the very first female president of ASCE. She asked JSCE to have a meeting with female engineers. Some attendants of the meeting decided to start a special research committee on gender issues in civil engineering. Later the committee became a subcommittee of the education and human relation committee as “man-woman equal participation committee” and then became “diversity committee”in 2014. Throughout these years, the committee has been the sole body that tackles with gender, women and now diversity & inclusion issues. We have about 20 committee members from various sectors of civil engineering in Japan, half of them are women, and they belong to bodies as JGS (The Japanese Geotechnical Society) and SWCE (The Society of Woman Civil Engineers) with which we are working very closely.

We would like to introduce three outstanding achievements by the Diversity Committee.
(1) Providing information on issues
Since 2010, the committee has been collecting and providing information on diversity issues in civil engineering, such as women, foreigners, work-life balance and others. The sources of the information include books, academic articles, news and TV programs. In 2015, we collected more than 200 articles and all the bibliographies are provided to the public on our webpage.

(2) Publishing a role model book
One of the major concerns that female civil engineers confront the lack of role models and understanding by their male colleagues. The book “A Carrier Guide for Women Civil Engineers” (Fig.1) was edited by the committee and published by JSCE as the very first publication for celebrating the centennial of JSCE. Ten role models along with the references of women in civil engineering are introduced in the book.

(3) Diversity and Inclusion Action Statement
In 2015, the committee developed an action plan for JSCE (Fig.2). In the plan, the purpose of actions is described as contributing the society with useful infrastructures. Three key words “acceptance”, “enhancement”, and “development”, are set as the actions that each sector of civil engineering in Japan shall take. It will be the committee’s principle for these coming years.

The Japanese society finally has started welcoming female civil engineers, and we are now heading to Diversity & Inclusion in order for us to serve the society with better infrastructures.


Fig.1 Career Guide for Women Civil Engineers

Fig.2 JSCE Diversity & Inclusion Action Statement


Women in Civil Engineering at WECC 2015

Diversity Committee of JSCE took part in organizing a panel discussion session at the 5th World Engineering Conference and Convention (WECC 2015) in Kyoto on December 1st, 2015. WECC is held by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) in purpose of sharing various topics engineers in a wide range of fields.

The session was a part of Track 9 “Women in Engineering” that included a keynote lecture by Ms. Yukako Uchinaga a former manager in Japan IBM, an oral session “Promoting Female Leaders in Engineering” with seven presentations, and two panel discussions on “Promoting Young Women in Engineering”, one on ICT and the other on civil engineering. We took part in the last panel discussion as a member of the organizing team with the Institute of Professional Engineers, Japan and the Society of Women Civil Engineers (SWCE) as well as one of the panelists.

(Photo1) Prof. Osamu Kusakabe, the facilitator


The organizing team was lead by Ms. Maki Iwakuma (P.E.), facilitated by Prof. Osamu Kusakabe (Photo 1) with four panelists (Photo 2): Dr. Reiko Abe (India / Japan), Dr. Lee Ji-Hyung (Korea), Dr. Satoshi Imamura (Japan) and me (Photo 2). My presentation was entitled as “History of Women Civil Engineers in Japan - Roles of SWCE and JSCE” to look back these 30 years, when a few women entered the industry, formed SWCE and has been the pool of role models while JSCE worked as a connecting hub of stakeholders and information. We found that India, Korea and Japan shared many of the barriers for women to continue work as engineers. Questions from the floor included whether construction companies in Japan welcomed women engineers or not, and if so, in what way they did (Photo 3). The ICT session held before our session let us realize that it was no longer a special case that young women publicly declared their willingness to take management positions.

For this occasion, the SWCE established a scholarship funded by donations and invited 12 recipients from Women in Civil Engineering at WECC 2015 (Photo1) Prof. Osamu Kusakabe, the facilitator Fig.2 JSCE Diversity & Inclusion Action Statement 3 various countries to attend the conference and to participate in the discussion. SWCE’s report is available at : http://www.womencivilengineers.com/archives/1464


(Photo2)  Panelists (from left, Drs Abe, Lee, Imamura and Yamada-Kawai)

(Photo3) Participants from various countries


【Reported by Kiko Yamada-Kawai, Dr. Eng., Secretary-general, Diversity Committee Researcher, Tokyo Institute of Technology】


Activity Report of ACECC TC-16 Workshop in ITS World Congress Bordeaux 2015

The Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council (ACECC) TC-16 is a technical committee working on the theme: “ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) based Solutions for Urban Traffic Problems in Asia Pacific Countries.” It was established based on a proposal by the Practical ITS Research Committee of JSCE at the meeting of the ACECC Technical Coordinating Committee held in Tokyo on March 1, 2012. The TC-16 aims to compile ITS-based solutions for urban traffic problems such as traffic congestion, accidents and environmental deterioration caused by rapid urbanization associated with economic growth and the widespread use of automobiles, and to discuss the methods of implementing the ITS in accordance with the stages of economic growth and national land development in each country.

At the ITS World Congress Bordeaux 2015 held in October 2015, Mr. Hiroshi MAKINO the head of ITS Division of the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management and the chairman of the TC-16, Assc. Prof. Shunsuke KAMIJYO of the University of Tokyo and the vice chairman of the TC-16, Prof. Edward CHUNG of Queensland University of Technology, and Mr. Takahiro TSUKIJI hosted the TC-16 Workshop. Document policies for the preparation of the "ITS Introduction Guide", which describes the ITS-based solutions for urban traffic problems and ITS deployment processes to government representatives and engineers from Asian countries, were discussed in the workshop. As a result of the discussion, it was agreed that application examples should be collected from the TC-16 member countries (Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, etc.) for the ITS applications, which is described in the ITS Introduction Guide, including ETCs, car park payment, information collection, information provision and traffic management. The ITS Introduction Guide will be finalized and released by the summer of 2016, and the result will be announced at the 7th Civil Engineering Conference in the Asian Region (CECAR), which is scheduled for between the end of August and September 2016.


ITS World Congress site

TC-16 Workshop


【Reported by Takahiro TSUKIJI, Secretary of ACECC TC-16 Researcher, ITS Division of National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management】

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