Gender equality at UTokyo
A one-stop overview.
This post introduces the Tottoko Gender Movement, a student circle at UTokyo. "Hello! We are a club activity of students at the University of Tokyo making action to eliminate sexism and sexual violence from universities. Our shared goal is to achieve gender equality on campus." The group’s Facebook page also explains that "Tottoko is an onomatopoeic expression of the way smaller animals (hamsters, rabbits) walk. The idea is that our progress will come slowly but steadily even though our steps may be small." The concept of patient but determined progress, growing in scale over time, is also reflected by the group’s motto: "Changing society from the University of Tokyo".
The Tottoko Gender Movement was established in 2018. It had 7 members as of May 2019, according to the official list of UTokyo registered student groups. Its activities include seminars, discussions (such as monthly book clubs), and action on gender equality. In particular, the group focuses on raising awareness of sexual consent, by distributing a student-made handbook during on-campus events such as freshman orientation (see photo 1, taken from the Tottoko Facebook page). Around 1,000 copies have been handed out so far by student volunteers.
The booklet (photo 3) was developed in collaboration with Chabujo, a grassroots feminist NGO based in Tokyo, founded in 2015 "to translate silence into words and action". The Tottoko Gender Movement shares a website with TOPIA (photo 4), a UTokyo student group promoting diversity and inclusion of sexual minorities on campus. In June 2019, Tottoko joined an event on sexual harassment held at Sophia University, and a description of their group was published in the Japan Times (see: “Getting the word out on sexual consent to university students in Tokyo” by Misha Cade).
“Tottoko is where students concerned about gender /sexuality / sexism / sexual violence can cooperate and take action towards a better campus environment. Members can take actions based on their own various interests, sharing each other’s knowledge, experiences and resources”. The Tottoko team welcomes students from any background (grade, gender, nationality). More information can be found on the Tottoko webpage.
(All photos courtesy of the Tottoko Gender Movement.)