Event Date/Time: Jun 06, 2003 End Date/Time: Jun 06, 2003
Registration Date: Jan 31, 2003
Abstract Submission Date: Jan 31, 2003
Report as Spam


International Conference on Women and Politics in Asia

Organizers: School of Social and Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Sweden; Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, NIAS, Denmark; Center for Asian Studies, CEAS, Göteborg University, Sweden; Center for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden.

Halmstad University, Sweden, 6-7 June, 2003

This international conference will focus on women and politics in Asia. Women have long been marginalized in political discourse. Opportunities for women to be represented in political bodies and to affect political content is an important aspect of democracy from a gender perspective. It is a paradox that women, who compose half of the citizens in the Asian countries, are very poorly represented in policy making bodies. There are still many obstacles and constraints to progress toward equality. Although there have been substantial improvements in the status of women in Asia in recent decades, only very small numbers of women rise to positions of leadership in politics and attain high levels of economic or social participation. They continue to suffer from a variety of constraints. In many polities, women’s influence over political decisions is to a great extent limited by their small numbers. Increasing the active participation of women in politics and the representation of women in positions of power is a central factor in bringing gender issues on to the political agenda of the countries in Asia. The aim of this international conference is to study different dimensions of Asian women in politics. The conference is multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary in approach with contributions from social sciences and humanities from various parts of the world.
The beginning of the twenty-first century is a good time to look back and reflect on what women have gained and lost in the last few decades of rapid change and transformation, and to look forward to the promotion of gender equality. The conference is an excellent starting point for this assessment as it sheds light on the changes that have had an impact on Asian women in various countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. How are the trends that are emerging in the position and the status of women today likely to influence their political future? The conference will address such issues as the impact of globalization on women’s political participation, the tensions between modernity and tradition in women’s roles, the role of religion and religious regimes, the impact of changing government capacity on empowering women, the role of women’s organizations in getting gender issues on the political agenda in different cultural, political, and developmental contexts across Asia. The conference will also give focus to transformational strategies to gender balance and the role of political incumbents in shaping and reshaping gender relations in politics. Studies on women and politics have suggested a variety of possible explanations for the paucity of women leaders and the marginalization of women in politics. These include electoral systems, party systems, gender-role socialisation, women’s movement, political culture, religion, and women’s representation among professions from which potential leaders are drawn. The conference will take up both structurally oriented explanations and actor-oriented explanations for the lack of women in political bodies.
The conference will promote a systematic investigation of women in politics in a comparative perspective, which has been a subject of neglect for long. Of late there have been a spate of inquiries into various dimensions of women in politics. These studies notwithstanding, the political status of Asian women remains a scantily explored area. Available literature on the subject mostly consists of islands of isolated studies touching one or the other aspect of the problem. The studies so far done on women and politics are very few compared with the magnitude and complexity of the issue. The conference will bring together scholars on women and gender studies in Asia and promote scholarly cross-fertilisation. By subjecting various aspects of women and politics in Asia to both rigorous theoretical and empirical scrutiny, this conference will solidify women and gender research in this field which so far has been scattered.

Organising Committee:
Dr. Kazuki Iwanaga, School of Social and Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Sweden.
Dr. Cecilia Milwertz, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, NIAS, Denmark
Dr. Wil Burghoorn, Center for Asian Studies, CEAS, Göteborg University, Sweden
Dr. Qi Wang, Center for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden

For registration, abstracts and other queries, please visit our website at: