Exploring the contemporary relationship between women and the Japanese state
Japan fares poorly in gender equality. International indices published regularly by organisations such as the World Economic Forum or the Inter-Parliamentary Union paint a picture of enduring gender inequality in Japan. The declining birth rate and aging society in Japan has given rise to serious demographic issues that authorities are attempting to address by enticing women to engage in what have typically been regarded as male-dominated fields, such as the military and the workforce. These attempts exist within a context of patriarchal social and cultural norms that support a strict gendered division of labour, thus resulting in tension and structural resistance. Questions this project explores include: How are women situated in state apparatuses in contemporary Japan, such as political parties or the Japan Self-Defense Forces and what are their experiences there? What are the changes and continuities from the past? What kind of balance is there between women having the opportunities to be active agents in their positions and being exploited for state purposes?