East Asia

International Women’s Organizations, Peace and Peacebuilding


Goodman, Joyce. 2019. “International Women’s Organizations, Peace and Peacebuilding.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Approaches to Peace, edited by Aigul Kulnazarova and Vesselin Popovski, 441–60. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Joyce Goodman


This chapter uses the published records of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) and of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) to analyze how the positioning of international women’s organizations around neutrality played out in organizational configurations of peace and peacebuilding. The chapter argues that the IFUW’s “disinterested” neutrality and the WIDF’s “active” neutrality connected to differing political views on equality, expertise, democracy, sovereignty and imperialism with consequences for the framing of the organizations’ peacebuilding activities and for their organizational links with Korea. The chapter uses the interactions of Kim Hawal-lan and Germaine Hannevart with Korea to conclude that women’s engagement with the peacebuilding initiatives of international women’s organizations should be seen as the outcome of a series of encounters.

Topics: Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2019

To Genuine Reconciliation on Comfort Women


Zhewei, Li. 2019. "To Genuine Reconciliation on Comfort Women." International Journal of Rule of Law, Transitional Justice and Human Rights, no. 10, 91-102.

Author: Li Zhewei


The comfort women, which was a brutal crime in the Second World War, has been a historical dilemma in the international legal practice in the East Asia. It is an impasse made up of gender, decolonisation and nationalism elements. This article tries to propose a possible way to reach a genuine reconciliation on the comfort women issue from a perspective of transitional justice. Firstly, an introduction about the comfort women issue will be introduced, which will establish the whole theoretical analysis framework. The Second Part will try to analyze the obstacles and difficulties to ultimately settle down the comfort women dilemma. In the Third Part, this essay will conduct cases study by retrospecting the currently existing practice that has tried to address the comfort women problem, namely inter-governmental cases and individual-claim cases. The Conclusion will coincide the rationale of the First Part and put forward the possible solution with a threefold structure.

Keywords: comfort women issue, transitional justice, gender-based crimes, international law

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, International Law, Justice, Transitional Justice, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Asia, East Asia

Year: 2019

Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula


Kim, Dong Jin. 2019. "Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula." Asia Europe Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10308-019-00551-5.

Author: Dong Jin Kim


This article explores the challenges and contributions of women in building and sustaining peace in protracted conflicts by conducting a comparative case study on Northern Ireland and Korea. Similarities in the histories of the conflicts and the concurrences in the peace processes have been attracting policy makers and researchers to share lessons between the Northern Ireland and Korean peace processes. However, the peacebuilding role of women and their transversal perspective have not yet received significant attention compared to the high-level agreements, signed predominantly by male politicians. This article identifies the similarities in the peacebuilding activities of women in Northern Ireland and Korea, in terms of their recognition of the interconnection between identity politics and patriarchy, building relationships across the divide through transversal dialogue, and initiating nonviolent peace movements against the militarism of their societies. The comparative case study also shows dissimilarities between the two cases, with regard to the freedom of women to move beyond boundaries, and being part of the official peace process. This article concludes the role of women in both contexts is a key element in sustainable peacebuilding; however, it appears that women’s peacebuilding would not be able to reach its full potential to break down violent structures in conflict-affected societies, as long as their transversal perspective remains at the level of social movement, not part of peacebuilding at all levels of societies, including high-level negotiations.

Keywords: women, gender, peacebuilding, peace process, Northern Ireland, Korea

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: North Korea, South Korea, United Kingdom

Year: 2019

Gender and Conflict in East Asia


Bjarnegård, Elin, and Erik Melander. 2017. “Gender and Conflict in East Asia.” In Routledge Handbook of Asia in World Politics, edited by Teh-Kuang Chang and Angelin Chang. New York: Routledge.

Authors: Elin Bjarnegård , Erik Melander


In East Asia, as in the rest of the world, peace and conflict display clear gendered patterns. These patterns contribute both to a better understanding of peace and conflict per se, but gender is also of importance for grasping the causes and consequences of armed conflict. This chapter illustrates numerous ways in which a gender perspective contributes to the knowledge of issues of peace and conflict in East Asia. The constructivist argument points to some interesting possible ways in which changing gender relations may be working for peace in parts of East Asia. The view of China as an enemy is clearly the most widespread in South Korea, but the gender gap is very small with 36" of men and 34" of women thinking of China as an enemy. The gender gap is more evident in Japan where almost a quarter of the male population think of China as an enemy, while only 16" of women do.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Peace Processes Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China, Japan, South Korea

Year: 2017

Reparations for "Comfort Women": Feminist Geopolitics and Changing Gender Ideologies in South Korea


Kim, Min Ji. 2019. "Reparations for "Comfort Women": Feminist Geopolitics and Changing Gender Ideologies in South Korea." Cornell International Affairs Review 12 (2): 5-43.

Author: Min Ji Kim


This paper studies feminist geopolitical practices in South Korea in the context of “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese military around the Second World War. Although there has been a considerable amount of literature penned on the comfort women issue, existing discussions focus largely on the conflict between nationalist and feminist paradigms, while largely minimizing feminist activism and changing gender narratives within Korean society. Therefore, this research aims to expand the field by considering the struggles that comfort women have endured through the lens of feminist geopolitical scholarship. I argue that comfort women activism constitutes a form of feminist geopolitical practice in a way that challenges masculine gender narratives. It has opened up new spaces where comfort women survivors can produce a sense of “survivorhood” and move beyond passivity throughout their lives. The rise of their active voices signals the overturning of traditional patriarchal structures; consequently, along with other forms of activism, these narratives have eventually led to a shift in public attitudes. Unlike how nationalist accounts were dominant in the early 1990s, the increased public attention towards the feminist accounts in the mid-2010s has subsequently increased media coverage of survivors and feminist practices.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2019

Are Women More Averse to Corruption than Men? The Case of South Korea


Lee, Aie‐Rie, and Kerry Chávez. 2020. “Are Women More Averse to Corruption than Men? The Case of South Korea.” Social Science Quarterly 101 (2): 473–89.

Authors: Aie-Rie Lee, Kerry Chavez


Objectives: Previous research asserts that women are less prone to corruption than men. It is not without contestation, leading to a complex corpus with mixed findings suggesting that perceptions might be context‐specific. This study investigates whether, how, and under or through what conditions gender impacts individual perceptions of corruption in South Korea, a case exemplifying "Asian exceptionalism."

Methods: Employing the World Values Survey and statistical regression techniques, we leverage a quasi‐experiment analyzing individual attitudes across all regime types in South Korea's recent history.

Results: Examining three types of corruption—state benefit fraud, tax evasion, and bribe‐taking—we find no significant differences until Korea democratizes, when we observe a surprising increase in the gap between perspectives.

Conclusions: Women's differential tolerance is mixed across types of corruption, implying that corruption is not a homogenous concept and that perceptions are conditioned by individual opportunities and constraints.

Topics: Corruption, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Governance Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2020

Green Practices Are Gendered: Exploring Gender Inequality Caused by Sustainable Consumption Policies in Taiwan


Wang, Sumei. 2016. “Green Practices Are Gendered: Exploring Gender Inequality Caused by Sustainable Consumption Policies in Taiwan.” Energy Research & Social Science 18 (August): 88–95.

Author: Sumei Wang


In the context of climate change, governments and international organizations often promote a “sustainable lifestyle.” However, this approach has been criticized for underestimating the complexity of everyday life and therefore being inapplicable to households and consumers. In addition, procedures for promoting sustainable consumption seldom incorporate domestic workers’ opinions and often increase women’s housework loads. This article employs a practice-based approach to examine the “Energy-Saving, Carbon Reduction” movement, a series of sustainable consumption policies that have been advocated by the Taiwanese government since 2008. The goal of the movement is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle. On the basis of empirical data collected through ethnographic interviews, this article argues that existing policies unexpectedly increase women’s burdens and exacerbate gender inequality.

Keywords: sustainable consumption, gender inequality, Taiwan, global warming

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Infrastructure, Energy, International Organizations Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Taiwan

Year: 2016

Impacts of Renewable Energy on Gender in Rural Communities of North-West China


Ding, Wenguang, Lijun Wang, Baoyu Chen, Luan Xu, and Haoxu Li. 2014. “Impacts of Renewable Energy on Gender in Rural Communities of North-West China.” Renewable Energy 69: 180–9.

Authors: Wenguang Ding, Lijun Wang, Baoyu Chen, Luan Xu, Haoxu Li


This investigation compares the traditional energy structure with improved energy structures, and evaluates the impact of renewable energy on gender relations in rural communities in north-west China. The traditional energy consumption structure in rural communities in north-west China was based on biomass and coal. However, the improved energy consumption structures consist of renewable energy based on solar energy cookers, biogas digesters and energy saving stoves. Compared with traditional biomass-based energy consumption, renewable energy could significantly improve energy use efficiency and alter women's labour intensity, health status, living standards and even men's share of some cooking tasks. The field investigation data revealed that: women are free from having to collect firewood after integration use of renewable energy including biogas digesters, energy saving biomass stoves and solar energy cookers; the frequency of firewood collection, firewood collection quantity, time spent in firewood collection and human energy consumption of women have greatly decreased when traditional energy consumption structures are improved; using biogas can daily save 50% of cooking time for women; 91% of women use surplus funds from energy saving to buy clothes and cosmetics products; 3.1% of them enjoy travelling; and also use of clean energy devices can further reduce the risk of women exposed to indoor smoke pollution, and hence prevent women from possibly getting respiratory diseases. Therefore, it can be concluded that: gender is an important aspect of energy, which has previously been ignored by many researchers; gender does matter in the area of access to, ways of use, opportunities and control over energy; energy and women are linked in many diverse ways; technology change can drive cultural change; appropriate policies are needed to encourage technology up-take.

Keywords: energy structure, renewable energy, gender, rural community, China

Topics: Environment, Gender, Health, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China

Year: 2014

The Role of Land Tenure Security in Promoting Rural Women’s Empowerment: Empirical Evidence from Rural China


Han, Wenjing, Xiaoling Zhang, and Zhengfeng Zhang. 2019. “The Role of Land Tenure Security in Promoting Rural Women’s Empowerment: Empirical Evidence from Rural China.” Land Use Policy 86 (July): 280–89. 

Authors: Wenjing Han, Xiaoling Zhang, Zhengfeng Zhang


The empirical evidence from developing countries suggests that land tenure equity can be regarded as a means of promoting development by empowering women. Despite current prime laws and regulations having provided the basis for rural women to enjoy equal land rights, village rules and regulations and various informal customs have adversely affected their land tenure security under the unique villagers’ autonomy political system in rural China. Chinese rural women land tenure is therefore subject to considerable discrimination and is highly insecure due to the greater risks involved compared to those faced by men. Being entitled to land ownership does not mean women’s land tenure is secure, an issue that has received little attention to date. Accordingly, this paper aims to empirically examine whether women’s tenure security, legal tenure security, de facto tenure security, or economic tenure security can provide a means of improving their level of autonomy in household decision-making (used to characterize women's empowerment) in such areas as house purchases, durable goods purchases, daily necessities purchases, fertility choice, medicalcare choice, job choice, and social interaction choice. Using 2017 survey data (6073 samples) obtained for 28 provinces of rural China and employing the Tobit model for the analysis, we find that the formal title certificate is a prerequisite for realizing legal land tenure security; the risk of land expropriation and tenure disputes exacerbates the insecurity of land tenure at the de facto level; and that access to land circulation income can enhance land economic tenure security and has a significantly positive effect on women’s empowerment. Moreover, we highlight the potential adverse effects of rapid urbanization on rural women’s empowerment, which might further widen the rural gender gap. Our study indicates that policies enhancing land tenure security have the potential to increase women’s empowerment and associated beneficial welfare effects on the development of women’s rights, family, the rural economy, and also contributes to narrowing the gender opportunity gap within households.

Keywords: land tenure security, women's empowerment, Rural China

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China

Year: 2019

Representing Disaster with Resignation and Nostalgia: Japanese Men's Responses to the 2011 Earthquake


Kambe, Naoki. 2017. “Representing Disaster with Resignation and Nostalgia: Japanese Men’s Responses to the 2011 Earthquake.” RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society, no. 4, 15–22.

Author: Naoki Kambe


Naoki Kambe explores the masculinist rhetoric of Japanese male intellectuals’ reactions to the 2011 earthquake. Through an analysis of several responses by Japanese male intellectuals and writers, Kambe explores how, in times of disaster, these intellectuals and writers express the cultural and masculine ideals of akirame, or resignation—which is linked to mujō, or the impermanence of nature—and of nostalgia for the remote past. In doing so, Kambe makes observations about the connections between masculinity and nation in the Japanese context. (Summary from Environment & Society Portal)

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Nationalism Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2017


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