Gender Equality at School in Contemporary Japan

Aline Henninger



InJapan, since the 1970s, women’s studies, then gender studies in the 1990s, have flourished in the realm of sociology faculties and notably, the relationship between education and gender has been extensively examined. This article aims to demonstrate how different actors within the compulsory education system are struggling to control these sensitive topics. If we were to consider school as a hierarchical organizational structure, the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) would be the top of the pyramid, followed by the local board of education, the school directors and principals, the various teachers, the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association), the pupils, and lastly other external actors. The  Ministry of Education openly encourages, supports and promotes gender equality. However, concrete results are still missing. The Ministry, the school educators and administrators seem to contradict one another, with many double standards. Thus a gap appears between a call for gender-equal education and the concrete implementation of gender equality education measures in schools. To which extent each actor of the school system is acting for gender equality? Which factors are relevant for an implementation  of gender-equal education? To answer these questions, data based on an ethnographic research conducted in some primary schools in 2013-2014 will be used to understand what is at stake at  the local level. The particular  case  ofMachidaCitywill be analyzed. This article will pinpoint how a single classroom is the complex product of double standards which have conflicting influence between the Ministry, educators and schools administrators, and other actors related to primary schools.

Słowa kluczowe

education; gender equality; policy; school system

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