zabrovskaia, larisa

The Gender Policy in Countries with Confucian Traditions: A Comparative Study

Confucian traditions and ideology continue to dominate in many East Asian countries. That kind of ideology persists to keep women in low social positions, not to allow them to take the leading positions in policy and economy, not let them to make considerable influence in all spheres of social life.

The authorities of states with strong Confucian traditions (China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan) proclaimed the equal rights between men and women, but, on the other side, there are no women on the top of political positions. There were no women president or prime-minister and very few women became a head of ministers, districts or cities. As usual, societies with strong Confucian traditions have powerful military, which doesn’t allow women to become really equal.

Japan is a country with an advanced economy. Japanese authorities proclaimed equal rights for men and women, but the real gender situation leaves much to be desired because married women are deprived of many opportunities. As a result, young Japanese girls don’t want to marry, women postpone their marriage and after marriage they prefer not to change their surnames to husbands’ ones. It is a type of a protest against old traditions, which keep the low social status of Japanese women.

On the contrary, women leaders dominated in South and South-East Asian states for more then the past four decades. That states have other political and religion traditions. It makes an illusion that the gender situation in that states is more comfortable for women. However, we must take into consideration dynastic links which brought those women to power. Each of them belongs to an elite of society, their fathers or husbands were their countries’ recognized founding persons or longstanding political leaders. The cases of those women leaders are not typical for other South Asian women. Differently, this situation corresponds to the idiom “ladies first, but women last”.

In East Asian socialist states, which replaced Confucian traditions by communist ideology, and the gender policy was hidden by “right laws”. Nevertheless, the practice continues to be uncomfortable for women.

Thursday 25 October 15:15-16:45 Panels V, Panel 13 Gender - Equality (Hall 8)