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Title: Cedaw’s Efficacy in Assessing Gender Regime Change in Japan: Institutional Analysis of Compliance and Resistance in the Academy
Authors: Hayes, Blake Elaine
Supervisors: Nolan, Jane
Andrijasevic, Rutvica
Award date: 1-Sep-2014
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Japan’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1985 heralded improvements in gender equality, yet Japan still has one of the lowest rates of women in management (108th out of 135 countries), fewer than 10% women in all management levels, and one of the lowest percentages (11.9%) of female academics. CEDAW has been the basis for promoting gender equality in Japan in top-down implementation of policies and through bottom-up, civil society initiatives. However, CEDAW’s application in the institutions where gender employment discrimination occurs has been under-utilised. This thesis employs CEDAW’s directives of broad education, equality of opportunity/outcome, and positive action to interrogate women’s low numerical representation in Japanese universities. A feminist institutionalist analytic of the gender regimes was used to explicate change and continuity. This case study, involving women and men, explored all levels of the hierarchy in a Japanese university and found that Japanese-specific practices—consensus decision-making and the emphasis on harmony in the workplace—that might intuitively suggest a tempering of discrimination, reinforced gendered normativity, hindering change. Change occurred in university praxis, in the form of layering and conversion, which had promise regarding improvements in gender equality. However, ‘logics of gender appropriateness’ were recursively enforced through normative and cultural-cognitive institutions, mitigating the potential for change. Despite some discursive attention to the egalitarian ideals that CEDAW promotes, egalitarian norms had not substantively diffused and the corporate culture precluded challenges to gender discrimination. The entrenched power nexus found around the world within male-dominated academia was found to be overt in the Japanese context, which embraced a gender ideology of difference that explicitly ‘Othered’ women and underemphasised gender commonalities. This thesis makes a contribution through a unique utilisation of CEDAW and institutionalist analytics, contributing to the expanding regional research on employment inequalities.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: DSocSci
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, Centre for Labour Market Studies

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