IGWS Newsletter Vol. 31

  • Report on the 23rd IGWS Seminar at Aichi Shukutoku University
  • Students' feedback on the 23rd IGWS Seminar
  • My experiences in a male-dominated occupation ― An essay written by Chika Suzuki, Aichi Shukutoku University alumna
  • "Cute" in ancient times ― An essay written by Kenichi Nakano, Lecturer at Aichi Shukutoku University, Department of Japanese Language and Literature
  • The 4th Meeting of Discussing Graduation Theses Written from a Gender Perspective
  • Self-defense Class for Female Students
  • Announcement about the 24th IGWS Seminar
  • Gender & Women's Studies: Open lectures (2011)

Report on the 23rd IGWS Seminar

 "Childcare and housework: are they really fun? When men and women are tested." ( Speaker: Mr. Masaru Okazaki. Teacher at Momoyama Elementary School in Nagoya City)

 As the number of dual-income households increases, it is becoming increasingly necessary to find a way to provide a working environment in which fathers can also take part in childcare. The more time fathers spend participating in the housework and childcare, the higher their second-child rate becomes. This shows that avoiding long working hours and having parental leave for fathers are effective measures to deal with Japan's declining birthrate.

 The speaker, Mr. Masaru Okazaki, an elementary school teacher, took parental leave when it was not yet legally permitted for men. In the lecture he talked about his experience of taking parental leave, the "girl"/ "boy" issues based on his childcare experience, as well as on his points of view as an elementary school teacher.

 Mr.Okazaki's childcare experience began when he was looking for a nursery. Mr. and Mrs. Okazaki shared the idea of working together and raising children together. However, problematic was that he would be late for work at his school in the morning if he himself took his child to the nursery. As such he applied to ask for the two-hour 'parenting time' which women were eligible to take at that time. He applied to all the related departments. However, even when he obtained this 'parenting time' after all the necessary legal procedures, he realized that his colleagues did not understand his situation. In facing these difficulties, Mr.Okazaki believed that he was doing the right thing. He now believes that childcare is not something that one likes or doesn't like to do, it is something that one should handle naturally and straightforwardly.

 Mr. Okazaki also talked about the issues of "girls" and "boys" from his point of view as a male teacher. He mentioned the relationship with upper-grade elementary-school girls is hard, so he tries to keep them at arm's length. The students who want to become teachers showed a keen interest in his gender issues in elementary schools.

 At the end of his lecture, Mr. Okazaki encouraged female and male students to face any troubles or disadvantages in their employment or marriages in the future, and strive for a way to solve those problems. He concluded his lecture by explaining that the difficulties we face in life would help us grow.

The 4th meeting of discussing graduation theses written from a gender perspective

 The 4th meeting was held on Friday, January 21, 2011. This year there were four reports: one from the Department of Studies on Contemporary Society, two from the Department of Language Communication, and one from the Department of English Language and Literature. The meeting became an inspiring occasion to share their gender viewpoints. At the tea party after the report meeting, the participants enjoyed sharing their views and issues in a friendly atmosphere. The names of reporting students and their theses are as follows:

  • TANAKA, Yuka. "Continuing Working and Pursuing Their Careers for Female University Graduates"
  • TACHI, Kasumi. "Research on the Career Choices and Family Relationships of Female University Students"
  • NAKAMURA, Haruna. "The Importance of the Teacher's Behavior on Elementary Students: Students' Consciousness of Gender"
  • YAMASHITA, Keiko. "Montgomery and a Story of an Orphan Girl"

Self Defense Class for Female Students ― From Preparation to Practice

 On December 3rd, a self-defense class was held by inviting Ms. Motoko Onuma, an instructor from the Wen-Do Project. After working as a specialist for Child Assault Prevention (CAP), Ms.Onuma became involved in planning and managing the project to introduce Wen-Do, the Women's Self Defense Program born in Canada, to Japan for the first time. 20 students participated in this class.
First, Ms.Onuma pointed out that "no matter how strong a man is, he has a weak spot." Women have to reconsider their stereotypical ideas in which women cannot protect against men physically. To protect ourselves, she showed how to "use the opponent's force", rather than retaliate in force.

 The students who participated in the class had first expected to learn martial art skills, but what they learned were simple and easy skills, such as "to escape" and "to blindside. " After the lesson, participants remarked that they had gained some self-confidence.

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