Mission Completed? Changing Visibility of Women's Colleges in England and Japan and Their Roles in Promoting Gender Equality in Science

TitleMission Completed? Changing Visibility of Women's Colleges in England and Japan and Their Roles in Promoting Gender Equality in Science
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsKodate, N, Kodate, K, Kodate, T
JournalMinerva: A Review of Science, Learning & Policy
Date Published2010
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number00264695
Keywordscomparative , education , ENGLAND , gender , GREAT , Ideas , Japan , SCIENCE , SOCIAL , UNESCO , Women , WOMEN'S
AbstractThe global community, from UNESCO to NGOs, is committed to promoting the status of women in science, engineering and technology, despite long-held prejudices and the lack of role models. Previously, when equality was not firmly established as a key issue on international or national agendas, women's colleges played a great role in mentoring female scientists. However, now that a concerted effort has been made by governments, the academic community and the private sector to give women equal opportunities, the raison d'être of women's universities seems to have become lost. This paper argues otherwise, by demonstrating that women's universities in Japan became beneficiaries of government initiatives since the early 2000s to reverse the low ratio of women in scientific research. The paper underscores the importance of the reputation of women's universities embedded in their institutional foundations, by explaining how female scientific communities take shape in different national contexts. England, as a primary example of a neoliberal welfare regime, with its strong emphasis on equality and diversity, promoted its gender equality policy under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry. By contrast, with a strong emphasis on family values and the male-breadwinner model, the Japanese government carefully treated the goal of supporting female scientists from the perspective of the equal participation of both men and women rather than that of equality. Following this trend, rather contradictorily, women's universities, with their tradition of fostering a 'good wife, wise mother' image, began to be highlighted as potential gender-free institutions that provided role models and mentoring female scientists. By drawing on the cases of England and Japan, this paper demonstrates how the idea of equality can be framed differently, according to wider institutional contexts, and how this idea impacts on gender policies. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning & Policy is the property of Springer Science & Business Media B.V. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
NotesKodate, Naonori; Email Address: naonori.kodate@kcl.ac.uk Kodate, Kashiko 1 Kodate, Takako 2; Affiliation: 1: Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo Japan 2: Department of Information and Sciences, Tokyo Woman's Christian University, Tokyo Japan; Source Info: Jul2010, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p309; Subject Term: WOMEN -- Education; Subject Term: SCIENCE -- Study & teaching (Higher); Subject Term: WOMEN'S colleges; Subject Term: WOMEN -- Social conditions; Subject Term: EDUCATION; Subject Term: SOCIAL status; Subject Term: GREAT Britain; Subject Term: JAPAN; Subject Term: ENGLAND; Author-Supplied Keyword: Comparative study; Author-Supplied Keyword: Gender equality policy; Author-Supplied Keyword: Ideas and institutions; Author-Supplied Keyword: Science education; Author-Supplied Keyword: Women's colleges; Company/Entity: UNESCO; Number of Pages: 22p; Illustrations: 1 Chart; Document Type: Article