University of Tokyo Offers Rent Assistance to Female Students

January 20, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. subsidize / ˈsʌb sɪˌdaɪz / (v.) – to help someone financially by paying for a part of what they need to pay
Example: Our company subsidizes medical bills for all its employees.

2. eligibility / ˌel ə dʒəˈbɪl ə ti / (n.) – the state of being qualified
Example: Some people question his eligibility to lead the organization.

3. standard / ˈstæn dərd / (n.) – a level of quality that is acceptable
Example: Her proposal was not approved because it did not meet the company’s standards.

4. diverse / dɪˈvɜrs / (adj.) – different from each other
Example: The class consists of students with diverse nationalities.

5. talent / ˈtæl ənt / (n.) – special skills or ability to do something
Example: The theater group is made up of people with a wide range of talents.


Read the text below.
Japan’s top university is offering subsidized rent to female students in an attempt to improve gender balance in the student population.

The University of Tokyo announced that it will give a monthly housing assistance worth ¥30,000 (around $270) to its female students for two years. The housing program, which will start in April 2017, aims to increase the percentage of female students in the university. Currently, only 20% of students who apply to the university are female.

To qualify for the housing assistance, female students must have a commuting time of more than 90 minutes to the Komaba campus, where all first-year and second-year students study. The university will not look at the students’ family income to assess their eligibility for the program.

The university came up with the initiative because according to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, parents struggled to find a safe place for their daughters when they leave home to study. To address this concern, the university is looking for 100 apartments near the campus that meet safety and earthquake-resistance standards. The apartments must also have enough rooms to accommodate parents for overnight visits.

The University of Tokyo wants to increase its female students to pursue greater academic excellence with more diverse talents, according to the university’s vice president.

Before the housing assistance initiative, the University of Tokyo has attempted to encourage more female applicants by visiting high schools. They also tried to promote gender equality and increase the number of female students by establishing the Promotion Committee on Gender Equality in 2002 and offering scholarships to foreign female students. These strategies, however, did not make much improvement.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that the university’s housing assistance initiative will help increase its female students? Why or why not?
·         Aside from the strategies mentioned in the article, how else can the university attract female applicants?

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to promote diversity in schools? Discuss.
·         What are possible reasons why there are fewer female applicants in some universities?

January 20, 2017