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Public Lecture Slides (5.30.19) Beyond the Gender Gap in Japan - "Women and the LDP in Transition"


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Speaker: Yuki Tsuji, Associate Professor of Political Sociology at the School of Political Science and Economics, Tokai University

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Public Lecture Slides (5.30.19) Beyond the Gender Gap in Japan - "Women and the LDP in Transition"

  1. 1. Women and the Liberal Democratic Party in Transition YUKI TSUJI TOKAI UNIVERSITY
  2. 2. Women and the LDP LDP is a main cause for Japan’s low score of female political representation. LDP has been a ‘masculine’ party. However, many women have supported, voted for, and acted for the LDP. Few studied their roles and influence. LDP Komei Consti. Democratic (2018) / DPJ (2008) Communist Number of MPs (national) *2018 408 54 73 26 women (%) 41 (10.0%) 9 (16.7%) 20 (27.4%) 8 (30.8%) Number of party members *2008 1,102,460 400,000 269,124 404,300 women (%) 411,813 (37.4%) 210,000 (52.5%) 85,559 (31.8%) 179,100 (44.3%) Source: Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office
  3. 3. QUESTION What are women’s roles and influence in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)? mobilization, representation, and policy making Have they changed? Comparison of 1955 regime and post-1993 regime
  4. 4. Three Dimensions and Research Focuses • Female member of national parliament (lower and upper houses) • Professional background (careers before becoming MPs) Mobilization • Women’s Divisions (in LDP’s regional chapters) • Female party activists Representation • Women’s perspectives in making policy platformPolicy Making
  5. 5. Findings: Mobilization Core members of Women’s Divisions in regional chapters: married women in their 50s and beyond. Women’s contributions during electoral campaigns were enormous; face-to-face networks in local communities. Workshop in the LDP headquarters, joined by members of women division of the Fukushima prefectural chapter, April 2019. Source: LDP Women’s Affairs Division (headquarters) Website.Women’s magazine Riburu
  6. 6. Findings: Mobilization Women’s divisions began collecting voices of members and proposing policies on family and children inside the party in the mid 2000s. 1994 election rule change has facilitated cooperation and solidarity among female party activists and cultivated stronger partisanship. Women’s Division of the Gifu prefectural chapter of LDP. Children Happy Project since 2005
  7. 7. Findings: Representation A slow but steady increase in the number of of female LDP MPs and the growing diversity of their professional background. Spouses/daughters of male MPs local assembly members, bureaucrats, lawyers, doctors/nurses, teachers/professors, economists, journalists/TV newscasters, CEOs/company workers. Year first elected Number of female MPs in the LDP House of Representatives 1946 – 1990 8 1993 – 2017 44 House of Councilors 1947 – 1989 22 1992 – 2016 29
  8. 8. Findings: Representation Hindrances to rapid increase of female MPs in the LDP Decentralized recruitment system (regional chapters have power). Women’s divisions do not have much influence on candidate selection. Women’s activists have not often run for office (it may be changing…).
  9. 9. Findings: Policy Making Under the 1955 regime, women and gender were issues of low salience. It provided a “ghettoized” space for experts on women’s issues to deliberate policies: a limited number of experts with a common perspective joined.
  10. 10. Findings: Policy Making Under the post-1993 regime, women and gender became more salient and controversial issues. Demographic crisis Backlash against “gender-free” education Womenomics policies The more participants join in the deliberations of women’s policies, the more diverse perspectives (including anti-feminist ones) are presented.
  11. 11. Concluding remarks Changes A new initiative for policy making by women’s divisions inside the party. A growth of number and expertise of female MPs. Enlarged space in the party for deliberating women’s policies. Continuity Decentralized organizational structure and policy making procedures Ideological diversity of members (men and women)
  12. 12. Thank you for your attention.