A Comparative Analysis of Familialist Modernisation and Gender Inequality: Turkey and Japan

Authors

  • Miki Suzuki Him

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33831/jws.v20i1.54

Keywords:

women’s status, modernisation, familialism, Turkey, Japan

Abstract

Turkey and Japan are among the lowest-ranked countries in various gender gap indexes despite their economic achievement. To understand the phenomena, this study explores a question how the experiences of Turkey and Japan converge and diverge in the early struggles for modernisation and a new gender order through an interpretive comparative historical analysis. This study shows that notwithstanding geographical distance, cultural variances and different courses of industrialisation, Turkey and Japan have a number of common historical backgrounds which makes a comparative study interesting. Both countries played a leading role in its region in terms of modernisation, industrialisation and women’s emancipation between the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Yet in both countries women were emancipated but unliberated; they gained civil rights but their empowerment was controlled judicially and ideologically. The two countries also share a socio-demographically similar experience of “semicompressed modernity” which made them opt for familialism as a welfare model today. This familialism is both part of their neoliberalisation programme of social policy and their self-Orientalist response to global capitalist economy. This study argues that it is questionable if familialism secures the family. It is also questionable if women’s labour force participation in flexible employment contributes gender equality. Apart from the similarities in state policies, Turkey’s experience diverts from that of Japan. One of the most significant variances is that more women in Turkey tend to postpone labour force participation rather than childbirth while it is the opposite in case of Japan. In face of neoliberalising global economy, both Turkey and Japan have carried out drastic reforms since the 1980s yet again without liberating women.

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Published

2019-05-29

How to Cite

Suzuki Him, M. (2019). A Comparative Analysis of Familialist Modernisation and Gender Inequality: Turkey and Japan. Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women’s Studies, 20(1), 101–122. https://doi.org/10.33831/jws.v20i1.54