Project “Gender Equality Policies and Challenges in Asian Countries”

“Gender Equality Policies and Challenges in Asian Countries”

Key questions

  • What is the current stage of gender equality policies and their challenges in Asian countries?
  • Is it possible to reveal the universality and the particularity of Asian policies on gender equality through comparative analysis?

Research Purpose and Approach

Gender discrimination and human rights abuse against females have spread under globalization, and the widening of the North-South gap as well as the social gap has made many women victims of sexual and human rights abuses. To cope with this, Asian countries are reinforcing their gender equality policies, although their efforts are not necessarily adequate compared with some European countries. They also have less information on the actual status of the problems. In addition, there is urgency to not only analyze the situation of each country on a specific theoretical basis but also to make a comprehensive analysis of the status and issues of equality policies in Asia from a perspective that covers the entire Asia region and from the standpoint of multicultural coexistence by embracing factors such as race, religion and culture as well as gender.

Consequently, based on comparison with gender equality policies of Japan and advanced Western countries, this project intends to extract universal policy issues found in gender equality policies in Asia to identify cultural, religious, and institutional factors that may constitute the cause of male domination over female workers and females engaging in sex industry under the globalization of the economy and society, for example. At the same time, we aim to clarify the actual status and related eff orts toward gender equality in individual Asian countries to identify how they differ from the rest of the world.

For this purpose, we will analyze various policy issues such as human rights abuses against females, domestic violence, human trafficking, immigrant workers issues and problems found in the quota system of the parliamentary election in Korea. The analysis will be focused on gender law and sociological approaches from the viewpoints of the constitution, criminal law, sociology, and international politics. We aim to make use of our expected achievements in gender equality policy in Japan.

Research Activities

This project intends to obtain research results through joint studies on gender equality policies and challenges of Asian countries led by researchers at home and abroad, which will include comparative points of view on policies and theories between western advanced nations and Japan. For this purpose, we delivered a keynote lecture at the international symposium Gendering “Asia Conference” hosted by Finland University in May of 2009, where we sought researchers from other Asian countries. Also, in October 2009 at Hagi Seminar, we invited top leading researchers, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Ewha Womans University (former minister of Korean government), and Indira Gandhi National Open University, and carried out comparative studies on gender equality policies in Asian countries (refer to p. 35).

Furthermore, from September to October 2009, we attended a large-scale international symposium titled “Women and Politics in Asia (WPA2009)” held at the University of Hildesheim, Germany in order to report on the participation by the Japanese government and discussed with participants from other Asian nations. We are scheduled to organize international workshops and field studies focusing on Muslim states in FY2010. We also plan to publish the past achievements in a book.



Project Leader

(GCOE Project Leader)


Professor, School of Law, Tohoku University

Research Fields

Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, Gender Law






Name Affiliated Institution/Organization
OSAWA Mari The University of Tokyo, Institute of Social Science (Professor)
TANAKA Sigeto Tohoku University, Graduate School of Arts and Letters (Associate Professor)
KIMOTO Kimiko Hitotsubashi University, Graduate School of Social Sciences (Professor)
HASHIMOTO Hiroko Jumonji University (Vice President), Faculty of Human Life Studies (Professor)
TOSA Hiroyuki Kobe University, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (Professor)
INA Masaki International Christian University, College of Liberal Arts (Professor)
AIKYO Masanori Nagoya University, Graduate School of Law (Professor)
SOH Eunyoung Constitutional Court of Korea (Researcher)
SAWAE Fumiko Tohoku University, Graduate School of International Cultural Studies (Associate Professor)
KIM Sun Uk Ewha Womans University (President), College of Law/Law School (Professor)
Chun Kyung Ock Sookmyung Women’s University, Division of Humanities and Social Science (Professor)
ZHU Xiaoqing Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Center for Gender and Law Studies (Director)
Maria Rosario PIQUERO-BALLESCAS Toyo University, Faculty of Regional Development Studies (Professor)
Nilima SRIVASTAVA Indira Gandhi National Open University, School of Gender and Development Studies (Associate Professor)
Jackie F. STEELE The University of Tokyo, Institute of Social Science (Associate Professor)
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