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Economic and Cultural Issues Affecting Gender Equality: Lessons from Japan

Iyabo Obasanjo, Mariko Gakiya


Many African societies have strong traditional and cultural norms that suppress female equality and advancement, and condemn women to subservient roles. Japan also has strong cultural norms that subjugate women into roles such as care givers for elderly family members, and primary care takers of children and the home. For African countries with strong attachment to the traditional roles of women, there are lessons to be learnt from how Japan was able to improve its economic and social indicators while the society still holds to traditional views that are antithesis to modernity. The conclusion after examining economic and culture issues surrounding gender inequality is that in patriarchal societies paid work for women outside the informal sector is a precursor to change, but these jobs can also confine women to non-professional career paths and rising income inequality can reinforce gender norms with women staying home to look after the home and children as families are able to depend on one income as occurred in Japan.


Gender; Inequality; Culture; Social Development; Economic Development

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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