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Conservative contestations over gender equality and feminism: Discourses and practices

15.09.2010 | 18:30

Maria Sachiko Baier, University of Vienna
Haruno Katō, Ochanomizu University

Abriss

The introduction of the Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society (1999) marked the beginning of a new wave of conservative opposition to local enactments of the law, and an intensified campaign against issues pursued by the Japanese women´s movement in general. A central feature of this response was the concept of “gender free”, originally introduced to eliminate discrimination in schools, but portrayed by conservatives as a “denial of femininity and masculinity” and targeted as a threat to traditional family values. This interpretation has been used as a platform to challenge gender equality policy, sexual education, and gender sensitive education. Resistance to change in gender equality norms is not new, but we now see a pronounced shift in its intensity, scope, and the interplay between diverse actors. In our presentation, we discuss the shift in two fields; media discourse and education. Firstly, Haruno Katō explores resonant frames of perception and rhetoric among various conservative players by applying the “frame analysis” method on conservative magazines and Internet blogs from 1998-2009. Secondly, Maria Sachiko Baier explores how gender democratic schooling in Tokyo was contested at the local sites of schools during the controversy on “gender free education” by discussing two case studies that include qualitative interviews with gender-equal supporters in politics and education.

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Koordination: Barbara Holthus; Maren Godzik

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