Gender Roles and Nuclear Disarmament Activism, 1954-1965


Wittner, Lawrence S. 2000. “Gender Roles and Nuclear Disarmament Activism, 1954-1965.” Gender & History 12 (1): 197–222.

Author: Lawrence S. Wittner


“Changes in science and technology do not always produce revolutions in consciousness, but they can certainly have an impact, especially when the changes portend mass annihilation. Thus, not surprisingly, the terrifying preparations for nuclear war of the mid twentieth century – including atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons with a thousand times the explosive power of the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima – and the stark nuclear confrontations among the great powers sent new currents of thought swirling off in numerous directions. Gender roles could hardly remain unaffected and, in fact, underwent the beginning of a significant shift. Indeed, scholars looking for the missing link between the conventional gender norms of the immediate postwar decade and the emerging women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s would do well to examine the impact of the Bomb upon popular consciousness in the intervening years. And the first place to look for this transition in thinking about gender is at the worldwide welling up of nuclear disarmament activism” (Wittner 2000, 197).

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: Japan, United States of America

Year: 2000

The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue and the Embedded Culture of Sexual Violence in Contemporary Japan


Kazue, Muta. 2016. “The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue and the Embedded Culture of Sexual Violence in Contemporary Japan.” Current Sociology 64 (4): 620–36. 

Author: Muta Kazue


For over two decades, survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery during the Asia-Pacific War, euphemistically called comfort women (ianfu), have been demanding the Japanese government take responsibility for past atrocities to restore their dignity. They have yet to obtain a satisfactory response; indeed, their demands have frequently been met with verbal attacks from the right-wing, including influential politicians. This article seeks to identify and explain some of the reasons why the problem has remained a highly controversial, but stubbornly unresolved issue. It begins by offering a brief history of the issue and then maps out the contemporary controversy. It shows that right-wing attacks should be understood as stemming from a systemic and deeply embedded bifurcation of women in Japanese society that allows the adoration of some women to comfortably coexist with misogyny, powerful rape myths, and a porn culture. These deeply permeate many areas of society, including its courts.

Keywords: Japan, Korea, comfort women, comfort women issue, Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, conflict-related sexual violence, conflict-related sexual violence against women, South Korea

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Women, Sexuality Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan, South Korea

Year: 2016

Reclaim the Earth: Women Speak Out for Life on Earth


Caldecott, Léonie, and Stephanie Leland, eds. 1983. Reclaim the Earth: Women Speak Out for Life on Earth. London: Women’s Press.

Authors: Léonie Caldecott, Stephanie Leland



Essays discuss nuclear proliferation, chemical pollution, land rights, childbirth, infanticide, ecology, and feminist activities around the world (Summary from Google Books).

Table of Contents:

1. The Eco-Feminist Imperative
Ynestra King

2. Unity Statement
Women’s​ Pentagon Action

3. Unholy Secrets: The Impact of the Nuclear Age on Public Health
Rosalie Bertell

4. The Long Death (poem)
Marge Piercy

5. Sveso Is Everywhere
Women’s Working Group, Geneva; translated and extracted from the French by Frances Howard-Gordon

6. The Politics of Women’s Health
Nancy Worcester

7. Feminism: Healing the Patriarchal Dis-Ease
Jill Raymond and Janice Wilson

8. Ask A Stupid Question (poem)
Susan Saxe

9. Feminism and Ecology: Theoretical Connections
Stephanie Leland

10. Roots: Black Ghetto Ecology
Wilmette Brown

11. Seeds That Bear Fruit: A Japanese Woman Speaks
Manami Suzuki

12. Another Country (poem)
Marge Piercy

13. Thought for Food
Liz Butterworth

14. The Power to Feed Ourselves : Women and Land Rights
Barbara Rogers

15.  The Land Is Our Life: A Pacific Experience
Léonie Caldecott

16. A Micronesian Woman (poem)
Rosalie Bertell

17.  Greening the Desert: Women of Kenya Reclaim Land
Maggie Jones and Wanagari Maathai

18.  Greening the Cities: Creating a Hospitable Environment for Women and Children
Penelope Leach

19.  Against Nuclearisation and Beyond
Statement of Sicilian women

20. For the Hiroshima Maidens (poem)
Léonie Caldecott

21. Gaea: The Earth as Our Spiritual Heritage
Jean Freer

22. He Wanine, He Whenau: Maori Women and the Environment
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

23. All of One Flesh: The Rights of Animals
Norma Benney

24. The Mothers Do Not Disappear
Marta Zabaleta; translated by Jackie Rodick

25. Invisible Casualities: Women Servicing Militarism
Lesley Merryfinch

26. Alternative Technology: A Feminist Technology?
Chris Thomas

27. Safety and Survival
Margaret Wright

28. Birth: The Agony or the Ecstasy?
Caroline Wyndham

29. A New Form of Female Infanticide
Manushi Collective

30. Saving Trees, Saving Lives: Third World Women and the Issue of Survival
Anita Anand

31. Time for Women: New Patterns of Work
Sheila Rothwell

32. Personal, Political and Planetary Play

33. The Warp and the Weft: The Coming Synthesis of Eco-Philosophy and Eco-Feminism
Hazel Henderson

34. Prayer for Continuation (poem)
Susan Griffin

Topics: Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Health, Infrastructure, Urban Planning, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Political Participation, Race, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Food Security, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Africa, East Africa, Asia, East Asia, Oceania Countries: Japan, Kenya, Micronesia, New Zealand

Year: 1983

The Effects of Japanese Income Tax Provisions on Women’s Labour Force Participation


Shibata, Aiko. 1992. “The Effects of Japanese Income Tax Provisions on Women’s Labour Force Participation.” In Women's Work in the World Economy, edited by Nancy Folbre, B. Bergmann, B. Agarwal, and M. Floro, 169-79. London: Palgrave Macmillan London.

Author: Aiko Shibata


At a session of the Congress of the International Institute of Public Finance in Istanbul in the summer of 1988, a gentleman from a small oil-producing country in the Middle East asked me: ‘Was there any effective governmental means of keeping wives at home?’ I was taken by surprise and didn’t know how to respond. However, I later realised that Japanese tax laws implicitly do just that. Designed to give a tax break to married taxpayers, they discourage housewives from taking jobs. Further, many private companies have adopted wage structures that also discourage housewives from working out-side their homes.

Keywords: marginal contribution, labour participation rate, spouse earning, high income group

Topics: Economies, Public Finance, Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 1992

Gender in Japan: The Unseen Aspect of Natural Disaster Risks


Petraroli, Irene, and Jane Singer. 2020. "Gender in Japan: The Unseen Aspect of Natural Disaster Risks." Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Gender Research, University of Reading, April 2-3.

Authors: Irene Petraroli, Jane Singer


During a natural disaster, the role of gender is a sensitive but unexplored topic. Research is needed not only to improve existing policies in disaster risk reduction, but also to inspire new ways to strengthen disaster resilience through gender equality. This project based on disaster preparedness in Japan not only adds to the conference focus on women empowerment in a specific context, but also gives the opportunity to discuss gender beyond the dominant Western paradigms. The focus on disaster prevention is not casual. The scarcity of information and fora of discussion on gender is one of the reasons for Japan’s low level of gender equality. However, since disaster prevention is a universal concern, disaster education is the ideal opportunity to educate the public about gender awareness. In the current Japanese disaster education, gender is under- or mis-represented and the image of disaster differs from a realistic gendered experience. These problems led to the question “what is the public perception of gender-based disaster risk?”, and “does gender impact the perceptions of gender-based risks?”. To answer these questions, a survey based on behavioural-cognitive theory was designed to assess the public interest and the available information on gender during a disaster. Then, the responses were expanded and contextualised through observations, interviews and workshops. The results showed high interest for a gender perspective on disaster, but also significant differences between male and female respondents. The study also suggested a “cultural” understanding of gender in disaster based on the gendered stereotypes and expectations relied upon in case of disaster. 

Keywords: gender disaster risk, disaster risk communication, gender studies in Japan

Topics: Education, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2020

Violence Against Women and Children Following the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster: Making the Invisible Visible Through Research


Yoshihama, Mieko, Tomoko Yunomae, Azumi Tsuge, Keiko Ikeda, and Reiko Masai. 2019. "Violence Against Women and Children Following the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster: Making the Invisible Visible Through Research." Violence Against Women 25 (7): 862-81.

Authors: Mieko Yoshihama, Tomoko Yunomae, Azumi Tsuge, Keiko Ikeda, Reiko Masai


This study reports on 82 unduplicated cases of violence against women and children after the Great East Japan Disaster of March 2011. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire from informants who worked with the disaster-affected populations. In addition to domestic violence, reported cases involved sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact, including quid pro quo assault perpetrated by nonintimates. Perpetrators often exploited a sense of fear, helplessness, and powerlessness and used threats to force compliance with sexual demands in exchange for life-sustaining resources. Findings point to the urgent need to develop measures to prevent and respond to postdisaster gender-based violence.

Keywords: domestic and sexual violence, gender-based violence, disaster and humanitarian emergencies

Topics: Domestic Violence, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

Gender-Based Risk and Protective Factors for Psychological Distress in the Midterm Recovery Period Following the Great East Japan Earthquake


Ishiguro, Aya, Machiko Inoue, Jane Fisher, Mariko Inoue, Shoko Matsumoto, and Kazue Yamaoka. 2019. "Gender-Based Risk and Protective Factors for Psychological Distress in the Midterm Recovery Period Following the Great East Japan Earthquake." Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 13 (3): 487-96.

Authors: Aya Ishiguro, Machiko Inoue, Jane Fisher, Mariko Inoue, Shoko Matsumoto, Kazue Yamaoka


Objectives: Women and men might experience psychological distress differently during a disaster. This study investigated gender differences in the factors associated with psychological distress among working-age people 1 to 2 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Methods: A cross-sectional household survey of victims who remained living in their homes was conducted between May and December 2012 in Ishinomaki City, Japan. Psychological distress was defined as a Kessler Psychological Distress Scale ≥5, and gender differences were examined using a logistic regression analysis. Results: Data were obtained from 2593 individuals, and 1537 participants were included in the analyses. Psychological distress was observed in 28.0% of the participants. Living in a household without a salaried income and a low frequency of leaving the house were associated with psychological distress among women. Young age, lack of occupation and no informational support were associated with psychological distress among men. Income change due to the disaster and health complaints were associated with psychological distress in both genders. Conclusions: For women, stable household income and frequently leaving the house can be protective factors. For men, intervention focusing on young people, occupational support, and informational support may be useful. Income change after the disaster and health complaints may be risk factors in both genders.

Keywords: natural disasters, Psychological distress, gender difference, working age

Topics: Age, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Health, Mental Health, Households Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

Re-Masculinizing the Nation: Gender, Disaster, and the Politics of National Resilience in Post-3.11 Japan


Koikari, Mire. 2019. "Re-Masculinizing the Nation: Gender, Disaster, and the Politics of National Resilience in Post-3.11 Japan." Japan Forum, 31 (2): 143-64.

Author: Mire Koikari


Following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquakes, Japan has entered into a new phase of cultural production where discourses on risks, dangers, and calamities mobilize varieties of individuals and institutions for the purpose of maintaining the nation's safety and security. In this phase, masculinity plays a salient role, leading to a series of discourses and practices that have to do with manhood and nationhood. Drawing on insights from Masculinity Studies, Disaster Studies, and Cultural Studies, this article examines the workings of masculinity in post-disaster Japanese culture by analyzing ‘national resilience’, a leading national initiative that demands a sweeping transformation of the nation. Calling for the revitalization of the nation, national resilience also insists on the need to re-strengthen men and manhood, providing a gendered vision of national security in post-disaster Japan. Unlike other, more politicized sites of controversies on nation and nationhood, i.e. constitutional revision, Yasukuni Shrine, and comfort women, national resilience is a yet-to-be marked domain of contestation where the public concern with safety frequently overrides and obscures its political intentions and implications. Yet, national resilience constitutes a potent site of politics, where discourses about men, the military, nation, and empire are repeatedly mobilized to promote the revitalization of Japan.

Keywords: masculinity, safety and security, Great East Japan Earthquake, disaster resilience

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

Gender, Disaster and Stories from Popoki: Learning from Women Survivors in Northeast Japan


Alexander, Ronni. 2019. "Gender, Disaster and Stories from Popoki: Learning from Women Survivors in Northeast Japan." Journal of International Cooperation Studies 26 (2): 17-37.

Author: Ronni Alexander


This paper critically explores the question of gender and disaster, suggesting that much of the current thinking and practice serves to reproduce understandings of gender rather than transform them. The first half of the paper looks at issues of gender and disaster, providing a short introduction to some of the issues involved followed by a discussion of the meaning of gender and resilience in the context of peace. The second half introduces the stories of four women who experienced the Great Northeast Japan Earthquake. These stories were compiled through interviews and conversations occurring between 2011 and 2018 in the context of the Popoki Friendship Story Project, a support project organized shortly after the 2011 disaster. The stories illustrate women’s involvement with community after disaster and speak to the range of women’s responses and challenges. While in some ways they can be said to have been empowered, their stories suggest that they do not necessarily want empowerment, and that inclusion does not necessarily lead to transformation. The paper concludes with a reflection on theory and practice, stressing the importance of gender equity and equality as a prerequisite to transformative practices in disaster support. Working to foster peace before crises occur is therefore important for making societies more resilient and for greater inclusion and diversity during and after disaster.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

Disaster Recovery from a Gender and Diversity Perspective: Cases Following Megadisasters in Japan and Asian Countries


Tanaka, Yumiko, Mikio Ishiwatari, and Atsuko Nonoguchi. 2019. "Disaster Recovery from a Gender and Diversity Perspective: Cases Following Megadisasters in Japan and Asian Countries." Contributing Paper to GAR 2019. United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva.

Authors: Yumiko Tanaka, Mikio Ishiwatari, Atsuko Nonguchi


In the aftermath of disasters, local governments are primarily responsible for implementing quick recovery programs, including the relocation of affected people from areas at risk to safer places, rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure, as well as the recovery of health, livelihood, social security and protection. The concerns of local administrations concerned, however, often face difficulties in reflecting diverse needs and perspectives into recovery programs, due to limited capacity and experiences dealing with a large number and variety of recovery programs under severe time and personnel constraints.
Recovery programs need consensus building among various groups, especially women, youth, the elderly and people with disabilities; and an integrated approach to multi-sectors, such as environment, ecosystem and town planning. Local communities need to express their voice in planning recovery programs, often with support from external experts and various aid organizations, including national and international CSOs. In reality, however, the inclusion of various groups in recovery planning is little concern of local governments, thus they end up to making one standard plan or one-size-fits-all plans, to avoid favoring one area/group over another. In addition, local people, especially women, youth, the elderly and people with disability, are often regarded as only victims or beneficiaries of humanitarian and emergency aid, rather than as actors and agents of change.
The Sendai Framework Recovery for DRR stresses enhancing disaster preparedness in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction as a priority area. The aftermath of disaster poses a great opportunity for women, youth and other local groups to be empowered and exercise their agency and leadership, therefore, the governments as well as aid organizations and international society should utilize such a chance to increase their community disaster governance and transform a society to be more equal, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. Their recovery policies and approaches should involve various stakeholders, particularly vulnerable groups, in decision-making processes. As shown in cases in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, development assistance agencies should include capacity building activities in leadership for women and other vulnerable groups. (Summary from United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction)

Topics: Age, Youth, Development, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka

Year: 2019


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