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Gender equality and women's pension rights in Japan.

Kobatake, Kikuka (2008) Gender equality and women's pension rights in Japan. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In recent years, derived pensions for housewives have drawn criticisms in Japan as a gender bias for the male breadwinner/female homemaker households. Many prominent feminists support measures to remove or curtail these arrangements in favour of a gender neutral pension system. Nonetheless, it is an open question whether redressing gender assumptions in the pension system can help redressing another form of gender inequality, that is, gender gap in pensions and women's greater vulnerability to poverty in old age. The purpose of this study is to reconsider the 'women's pension problem' by unravelling the ways in which it is perceived and to reframe the policy issue so that the definition of the problem can better accommodate concerns about economic security in old age for women. Building on the insights of feminist scholarship on women's social citizenship, this study explores, firstly, why concerns about gender inequality in pension outcomes have failed to impinge on the political agenda as a primary problem to be tackled in Japan, despite increasing cries for gender equality in the nation, and secondly, what are the implications of this neglect for women's economic welfare in old age and gender equality in outcome. In so doing, published governmental documents, deliberations in the Diet and reports from key advisory committees are closely analysed in order to examine the changes and continuities of the 'women's pension problem'. In the latter part of the thesis, income statistics and pension simulations are used to explore the implications of recent pension reforms for women's equal pension rights and women's economic welfare in old age. The findings caution against the moves to remove or curtail derived benefits for dependent spouses as well as point to the need to distinguish gender neutralisation and assimilation to male gender model in the pursuit of greater gender equality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare, Women's Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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