Human Rights Activist Women's Practice in Japan and Indonesia: A Comparative Analysis with Special Reference to Their Advocacy of Gender Equality

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:40
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sri WULANSARI, the University of Tokyo, Japan
This study examines the similarities and differences of human rights activist women’s practice in Japan and Indonesia as represented in what French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu refers to as “habitus” and “cultural capital.” While the 1990 is often described as a “lost decade” for Japan in terms of its economy, it was in fact an extremely significant decade for the advancement of human rights and gender equality discourse in the country, where women were believed to hold the key to the country’s revival after the burst of the bubble economy. The decade was equally important for the exaltation of human rights and gender equality discourse in Indonesia as since the onset of democratization in 1998 a great number of middle-class women have thrown themselves vigorously into activism to defend and promote human rights and gender equality. But beyond such a similarity, human rights issues addressed by Indonesian activist women are extremenly diverse, including domestic violence, polygamy etc., and their activism to solve these problems invariably come face to face with religious authorities and political powers. In contrast, human rights activist women in Japan are more focused on legal battles to promote gender equality as many gender issues have been accommodated politically. By shedding lights on such similarities and differences, this study seeks to provide an integrative account of human rights activist women’s practice in the two countries and understand the dynamic reinterpretation of human rights and gender equality presently going on in Asia.