By Yoshie Kobayashi
This dissertation is the 1st research of kingdom feminism in a non-western state kingdom, targeting the actions and roles of the Women's Bureau of the Ministry of work in post-World conflict II Japan.
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Additional resources for A Path Toward Gender Equality: State Feminism in Japan
Likewise, the strong-state political culture has been a major factor in the slow gradual development of the gender equality policy in Japan. Therefore, it is necessary to examine whether and how the women’s policy agency in government impacts on the transformation of gender relations. Second, the state feminism theory helps us analyze a particular type of Japanese gender politics, which is different from other women’s policy agencies, for which feminist activists have worked. The Japanese women bureaucrats in the Women’s Bureau are not ‘femocrats’ as in Australia, who came from the feminist groups, and are not politically appointed bureaucrats of the Women’s Bureau in the United States.
The obscure term ‘equality’ has generated a variety of definition and caused intense debates on equality-versus-difference among feminists in the United States over discussions of objectives and strategies of the feminist movement (MacKinnon 1989; Scott 1988). There has been also much debate on equality-versus-difference in Japan among Japanese feminists and between women bureaucrats and feminists in the political decision-making processes for the equal employment laws. The debate on equality-versusdifference is one of the keys to understanding the reasons for two significant problems at the societal and state levels, namely, why the transformation of gender relations in Japan has been gradual and the women’s bureau failed in enacting a strong EEOL.
The study of the activities of the women’s bureau and its linkage with women’s groups also expands my interest from the topic of state feminism to the issue of civil society in Japan, in which demands seldom come from the society to the state smoothly. More importantly, this study of state feminism in Japan implies significance of women’s political participation in a decision-making process by observing efforts of the women bureaucrats to enact gender equal laws under the unfavorable situation.
A Path Toward Gender Equality: State Feminism in Japan by Yoshie Kobayashi