By Yoshie Kobayashi
This dissertation is the 1st research of country feminism in a non-western kingdom kingdom, concentrating on the actions and roles of the Women's Bureau of the Ministry of work in post-World struggle II Japan.
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Extra resources for A Path Toward Gender Equality: State Feminism in Japan
Since the late 1980s, Australian female scholars have examined activities of feminists working for women’s policy machinery in Australian politics. These feminist bureaucrats, who have administered the women’s bureau and have attempted further social change through state’s policies, are called ‘femocrats’ (Franzway 1989; Gunew 1993; Sawer 1990, 1995; Watson 1992; Yeatman 1990). These Australian scholars witnessed that femocrats’ activities made a strong impact on “policy reforms, changes within the bureaucracy, legislative changes and in the growth of women’s services in the non-government sector” (Watson 1992, 199).
The equality-versus-difference debate puts us on the horns of a dilemma. On one hand, “ignoring difference in the case of the subordinated group leaves in place a faulty neutrality”; on the other hand, “focusing on difference can underscore the stigma of deviance” (Scott 44, 1988). ). As an alternative of the dichotomous choice, this study chooses the term gender equality. Gender equality refers to equality without division of labor based on the two sexes but with consideration on such physiological difference as maternity.
Consequently, women in her study are delineated as only recipients. Likewise, the state in her study is considered as a monolithic entity with patriarchal ideology. Thus, not only women but also the state are rigidly structured and include no deviation. According to this argument, the structured patriarchal state could not resist external pressure that forced it to implement the 1986 EEOL without enforcement power. Yet, the fact was that the Japanese government was not obliged to ratify the UN treaty—the United States did not—but voluntarily ratified it because of massive demand from Japanese women politicians, activists and bureaucrats.
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