Images of women from the Far East are often filled with stereotypes of submissive individuals that consistently capitulate to the needs and desires of men. While this image appears to have some accuracy for describing women of the Far East in the early twentieth century, modern day portraits of women from this region of the globe demonstrate that this is no longer the case. After the end of World War II, many of the countries in the Far East saw a rapid period of social and economic growth and development. As a result of these changes, women in the post-war era saw their roles change drastically to meet the needs of new social and economic structures.With the realization that the role of women in post World War II has changed so drastically, there is a clear impetus to examine the roles of women in the Far East to better understand how this process occurred. Using this as a basis for investigation, this research considers the development of women in post World War II Japan. Through a careful consideration of what has been written about changes in the Japanese economy and society, it should be possible to provide a more integral understanding of the ways in which women's roles have changed in the last six decades. Further, by examining the social and economic changes that have taken place during this time, the current role of women in contemporary Japan will be elucidated.
[...] Overall, the evidence that has been presented on the development of women in modern Japan seems to suggest that even though women are a vital part of the economy—and further have made some gains towering improving their position in the workplace—the social structures that mitigate what is acceptable behavior toward women have not changed much. As a direct consequence of this lack of change, women face similar obstacles in the organization as they do in the social domain. The most notable change for women has come with respect to the blatant discrimination of women in the social and workplace environments. [...]
[...] While most Western scholars may be tempted to argue that women in Japan have made very little progress in social and economic development since World War II, it seems reasonable to argue that when the issue is examined from the perspective of Japanese society, women have indeed made notable progress overall. In order to fully understand and appreciate this progress however, the researcher must be willing to frame progress in the context of Japanese history and tradition. Unless the issues are examined through this lens, the true nature of the social and economic advancements made by women cannot be fully understood (Sugihara and Katsurada, 312). [...]
[...] While Japanese scholars argue that the tradition and social structures of Japanese society make change for women more difficult than what occurs in Western societies, many Western observers have noted that women have not made substantial progress in recent years Measuring Women's Progress in Japan Critically reviewing what has been written about women's development in Japan since the Second World War, it is clear that the evidence that has been presented with respect to women's development provides a mixed picture of gender in Japan. [...]
[...] The research that has been developed with respect to the developing role of women in Japan seems to suggest that the traditional roles of women in society are what continue to dictate how women are treated both in the home and in the workplace. Interestingly however, researchers examining the development of society in Japan have noted that Japanese women do not appear to have the collective voice to make the changes needed for improving women's social status overall. For instance, one author looking at how women and men perceive their roles in modern society makes the following observations: “Women, even among those working on a full-time basis, perceive their position in the stratification system using not only their own work, but also their husband's. [...]
[...] Because men were spending longer hours at work, women spent more time in the home, caring for their husbands and children “Gender-role division among married couples, already clearly defined, became even more rigid during this period” Despite the fact that the gender roles for women became even more restrictive during this time period, Tanaka notes that this sacrifice was seen as necessary to ensure that the Japanese could catch up to Western countries in terms of modernization Although the gender roles of women became more restrictive during the two decades immediately following World War II, historical research on this time period does demonstrate that women were afforded a host of new conveniences and a higher standard of living than older generations of women living in Japan. [...]
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