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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Political participation and happiness: The public-private divide and its implication for gender equality

 June 2010 - March 2011

Existing research points to the construction of the dichotomy of the public and the private in the modernization and its contribution to the formation of the asymmetric gender relations to the exclusion of women from the public sphere. The past decades have witnessed the increased awareness in the international community and many countries in the world of gender equality as an indispensible element of human welfare and personal happiness. Various policies implemented in international, national and local politics helped significantly improve the status of women and promote women’s social and political participation. Yet the traditional notion of gender roles is prevailing in many societies today and women are still largely ascribed to the private. Accordingly, citizens’ socio-political participation continues to show features of gender imbalance.

This research project looks at political participation, a representative area of gender imbalance as a paradox of the public-private divide, which is often used as an indicator of women’s social advancement, and examines the effects of family, a major component of the public sphere, on the public activity as a politician, particularly an election candidate and a legislator. For example, when a wife or a married woman decides to run an election, what kind of negotiations can be made between this woman and her husband? Is there any difference between male and female candidates? 

This project is conducted in cooperation with researchers outside the DIJ. The project is also funded by the Tokai Gender Institute.


Hiromi Tanaka (until March 2011)