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Women and Representation in Japan: Causes of Political Inequality
Hosei University.
2010 (English)In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 12, no 2, 177-201 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Japan's high level of socio-economic advancement notwithstanding, the level of women's representation in Japan lags behind that in not only other advanced countries but also many developing countries. This article aims to elucidate the causes of the under-representation of women in Japan. Preceding studies suggest that multiple, intertwining factors have had a collective influence on the number of women representatives. Based on these studies, I highlight four factors which affect women's representation: the electoral system; socio-political culture; electoral quotas; and the activities and attitudes of women concerning their own representation. I discuss how these factors have influenced the under-representation of Japanese women, in effect demonstrating that all the above factors have had negative impacts. Among these, the most serious obstacle is women's lack of enthusiasm for a larger political presence, which is sustained by Japanese political culture and social customs. I argue that strong women's voices calling for more women representatives are the necessary basis for measures to improve the under-representation of women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 12, no 2, 177-201 p.
Keyword [en]
electoral system; gender quotas; Japanese women; socio-political culture; under- representation
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97525DOI: 10.1080/14616741003665227ISI: :000277569000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97525DiVA: diva2:678724
Available from: 2013-12-12 Created: 2013-12-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Women and Politics in Japan: A Combined Analysis of Representation and Participation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women and Politics in Japan: A Combined Analysis of Representation and Participation
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Notwithstanding the country’s socio-economic advancement, Japanese women’s presence in politics lags far behind many less developed countries. They are politically silent as their demands hardly reach the centre of political decision-making. The purpose of this compilation thesis is to find answers to the following questions: why Japanese women’s political status remains low; how they tackle their under-representation; and what difficulties they face in their struggles for political involvement. Focusing both on their presence in legislatures and on their participatory activities within civil society, the thesis attempts to elucidate what impedes Japanese women from entering politics and the obstacles to their political activities. Specifically, the thesis attaches importance to the interplay between women’s representation and feminist movements; that is, women’s collective efforts to demand more women representatives are necessary to significantly improve their representation. The Japanese case demonstrates the inharmonious interplay between these two facets. It sheds light on a negative example, which illustrates that having only lukewarm women’s movements calling for more women representatives contributes to women’s on-going under-representation, which, in turn, discourages women from becoming more involved in these activities. Women’s representation plays a symbolic and substantive role in developing democracy. In other words, with a well-functioning democracy, all members of the political community share power equally. Throughout this compilation, it is suggested that the vicious cycle of under-representation and lukewarm feminist activism is not only detrimental to Japanese women but it also impedes Japanese democracy from progressing further. The thesis is composed of six parts. The first part, as the introduction, aims to give a theoretical framework to the thesis, theorizing the interplay between electoral representation and participatory activities and putting forward my approach in the thesis. The subsequent parts comprise five previously published articles. Although each article has been published separately in different journals, each of them includes Japanese case studies, as well as general perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, 2013. 43 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 155
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97529 (URN)978-91-7447-833-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-01-29, Nordenskiöldssalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2013-12-12 Last updated: 2013-12-18Bibliographically approved

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