What can I learn about women's changing roles in the world?
November 30, 2005 8:30 PM   Subscribe

In the U.S., we get all caught up in the decisions that adult women make and the consequences of those decisions. (To have children, not to have children, to work, to stay home with the children, not to work, to marry, to have children without marrying, etc.) Are there similar convulsions about these cultural issues in other countries, especially non-English speaking ones? How can I learn about them? I'm curious both about how women's roles in in their societies are changing and about how those societies are reacting to the changes.
posted by croutonsupafreak to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Many countries are interested, from a public policy point of view, in how to best encourage female participation in the workforce (or in raising kids - depending on your point of view). I've seen some interesting research comparing the policies and workforce participation outcomes of nations from roughly different cultural groups (English speaking v. Continental European v. Nordic v. North-East Asian).

I'm not sure if this answers your question. I don't have any links on me, but I'll try and dig some up and get back to you if you think they'd be helpful.
posted by newscouch at 9:26 PM on November 30, 2005

There's a whole academic discipline called 'women's studies' that looks into these exact things.
posted by delmoi at 9:27 PM on November 30, 2005

A moving article from the NYTimes. Not exactly the answer to your question, but worth noting that the problem is sometimes not the choices women make, but the choices made for them.
posted by desuetude at 9:33 PM on November 30, 2005

Apologies for the bifurcated post.

Here's an OECD report on factors influencing female labour force participation across OECD countries.

Here's a list of papers that might interest you from an NZ Treasury seminar on female labour force participation.
posted by newscouch at 9:39 PM on November 30, 2005

This is a huge issue in Japan, and there is a ton of writing on the exactly the stuff you're talking about.

There's a rather large and detailed document here with some sections specifically about marriage and maternity versus economic participation.

Additionally, any of the following books will provide you with extremely relevant accounts of the ways the issues you're asking about effect Japanese women:

LeBlanc, Robin. Bicycle Citizens: The Political World of the Japanese Housewife (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

Norgren, Tiana. Abortion Before Birth Control: The Politics of Reproduction in Postwar Japan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).

Buckley, Sandra. "A Short History of the Feminist Movement in Japan.” In Joyce Gelb and Marian Leif Palley, eds. Women of Japan and Korea: Continuity and Change (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994): 150-

Brinton, Mary. Women and the Economic Miracle: Gender and Work in Postwar Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

Uno, Kathleen S. “The Death of ‘Good Wife/Wise Mother’?” in Postwar Japan as History. ed. Andrew Gordon. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993)

Mackie, Vera. Feminism in Modern Japan: Citizenship, Embodiment, and Sexuality. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:51 PM on November 30, 2005

womenwatch and unifem might seem like "external" institutions (especially from a usa viewpoint), and they tend to focus on exceptions rather than describing common experiences, but some of the links on those sites describe issues from around the world.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:34 AM on December 1, 2005

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