Gender & Economics

Misako ARAI Associate Professor

Department: Graduate School of Languages and Cultures

Class Time: 2013 Spring & Fall Thursday (Fall) Thursday (Spring)
Recommended for: School of Graduate School of Languages and Cultures

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Course Overview

In the study of economics, the viewpoint of gender has been long overlooked. The challenge to introduce this viewpoint into economics, and to link it to the academic developments of gender theory and economics has begun, but has only been active since the 1990’s. In this course, we will learn the results of this challenge, that is, “Feminist Economics”.

Key Features

Many of the students who take this course are interested in gender studies, but students who are majoring in economics or social sciences are few. Also, the course is usually more than half foreign students from Asia, primarily from China.

From these students' viewpoints, in other words Japan viewed from the “outside”, the characteristics of Japan are those which could be described as having continual sex segregated labor, which is rare in developed countries, and excessive labor as well as (especially female) affluent consumer lifestyle. In this class, we will attempt to facilitate understanding of the various institutions behind these phenomena keenly felt by the foreign students.

Furthermore, we will understand how the current social systems have been instituted: by grasping the chronological order of the systems, and how other societies in other countries have come into being: by thinking about cross-sectional comparisons. I hope to proceed with the class while bearing these thoughts in mind. In addition, I will also present materials from the related fields of sociology and political science and, as much as possible, help students learn from other viewpoints and approaches.

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Course Aims

We will approach economics and economic phenomena from a gender viewpoint, and try to understand the problems within these phenomena. Students will learn the fundamentals of research -writing papers and exchanging ideas- through reading the texts assigned, creating outlines, and participating in discussion.

Course Schedule

In the first class we will have an orientation.

From the second class on, we will learn the basics of gender theory in economics from Yoshiko KUBA’s 2002 text.

Following that, during the first semester we will deal mainly with theoretical research and in the second semester we will confront actual analysis. Lectures will proceed in the following way:

  • Student presenter will give an outline of the text.
  • Instructor and the presenter will explain both terms used in the text and the text’s contents as well as answer questions.
  • We will discuss points brought up either by the presenter or other students.

When preparing your outlines of the text, do not simply list quotes, I want students to use their imaginations to design an outline that will make the organization of the text and contents clear. Also when suggesting discussion topics, it is possible (and encouraged) for you to add data and materials to stimulate discussion.

This will, in effect, become practice for writing your own research papers. Regardless of discipline, you need to point out deficiencies in previous research or points that should be critiqued, delineate the problem, and through appropriate methods enunciate your interpretation clearly within a reasonable length.

Moreover, both the instructor and students should endeavor to present the results of current research being presented at academic societies and conferences.

It goes without saying that “Economics” covers an extremely broad range of topics; especially those that relate to gender are particularly diverse, including labor, child rearing and caregiving, social reproduction, social security, as well as global financial systems.

Naturally, it is impossible for this course to cover all these topics, but I hope that students will bear in mind that the fields of economics, including the topics mentioned above, are all linked and that students will come to understand this from the broad viewpoint of gender. Moreover, through this class, I hope that students will understand that gender studies is not simply pursuing or insisting on benefits for women (in particular “working women”).

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Page last updated April 15, 2014

The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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