The Institute for Research on Women and Gender of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University was founded in 1990 with the objective of contributing to the development of women’s and gender studies. The institute takes up all manner of issues as research themes, from those that are more familiar to us to themes such as understanding culture, history, and society in an organized manner. It also serves as a hub for information and view-sharing on women’s and gender research.
The field of women’s and gender studies encompasses research in the realms of art and media representation, history, social sciences, psychology, as well as an interdisciplinary approach combining these different aspects.
The institute lends assistance to both project research and individual research spanning a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, while also holding public lectures and seminars given by experts from Japan and other countries, all of which are grounded in studies of gender perspective. Students also take part in lectures and seminars, which serve as an opportunity to reflect on their own lives and career plans.
Lineage and History
The Institute for Research on Women and Gender was born in 1990.
Establishment of the Asian Women’s Institute (AWI) for women’s studies and research in Asia
A conference of the representatives of nine Christian women’s universities in Asia was held at Ewha Womans University in South Korea in 1972, where the decision was made to establish a conference of university presidents and to carry out Asian women’s studies through joint projects. At the second such conference held at Beirut University in Lebanon it was decided that women’s studies centers would be established at each university. The third conference of representatives was held at this university in the form of the Conference of Representatives of Nine Asian Christian Women’s Universities. The Asian Women’s Institute was established as an organization to coordinate the women’s studies and research of the nine women’s universities. It was decided that the women’s studies centers of each university would go about promoting their own unique women’s studies and research and establishing joint research themes by coordinating with AWI. Given the subsequent changes in the social situation in Asia, following changes in the number of member universities this increased to 14 universities in 1988. Afterwards, the AWI was constructively dissolved.
From a women’s studies centers to the Institute for Research on Women and Gender
In 1976, based on the decision by the AWI, the university organized the Women’s Studies Committee within the Institute for Comparative Studies of Culture, which then set about its research activities. It later developed as a women’s studies center, and in 1990 the Institute for Research on Women and Gender was launched as a research institute of the Tokyo Woman’s Christian University on par with the Institute for Comparative Studies of Culture. A ceremony commemorating the opening of the institute held on July 14 was attended by 250 people, including women’s studies researchers from Japan and abroad, the president and researchers of this university, and news media. Professor Aiko Negishi, the first director of the institute, spoke of her aspiration to carry out activities in partnership with the women of Asia and in connection with women throughout the world. At its launch, a forum for its activities was established in the first floor of the Foreign Faculty House, which had been remodeled back then. Since then, it has supported numerous means of encouraging research, such as the Aoyama Nao Award for Women’s History. During this time, it has supported 48 cases of project research, numerous instances of individual research, and has published three books.
New developments for the Institute for Research on Women and Gender
In 2020 the Institute for Research on Women and Gender embarked upon its 30th year in striving to develop women’s and gender studies within contemporary societies that are growing increasingly diverse by valuing its central pillar of women’s studies and research in Asia from a global perspective. The world has been plunged into uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst this crisis, the institute will proceed ahead with further developments in the hopes that it can provide intimate support to an even greater number of people from a woman’s perspective.
Details of Projects
[Projects and Scholarships from Various Funds]
◇ Aoyama Nao Award for Women’s History
This is awarded every year for outstanding achievements in women’s history rooted in a women’s studies perspective. A public lecture is held by the award winners.
◇ Aoyama Nao Research Scholarship
This is awarded to joint research or individual research on women’s studies by graduates and students of the university.
◇ Shoko Akie Student Research Scholarship
This is awarded to joint research or individual research on women’s and gender studies by graduate students at the university.
◇ Yuko Eguchi Student Research Scholarship
This is awarded to joint research or individual research on women’s and gender studies by undergraduate and graduate students at the university.
Annual Report of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (a report on research activities such as lectures and seminars)
A Project Research Report that is published every year.
The Annual Report is distributed free of charge by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (at the entrance of Building No. 16).
Research Exchanges in Japan and with Other Countries
◇ Invitations of visiting researchers
The institute invites women’s studies and gender researchers from Japan and abroad in striving for research exchanges.
◇ Holding public lectures
The institute holds public lectures by women’s studies and gender researchers from Japan and abroad.
◇ Planning interdisciplinary classes in women’s studies / gender research areas (some of which will be public classes)
Class subjects for the 2020 academic year: “Learning about Women’s Studies and Gender,” “History of Women and Gender,” and “Women and Expression.”
◇ Hosting a Woman’s Cafe (as a forum for dialog related to women and gender for people )
◇ Project research
The institute supplies groups performing joint research grounded in an awareness of women’s studies and gender issues in the areas of culture, society, and natural sciences with research funds and publishes the results of their research in its Project Research Report.
◇ Individual research
The institute supplies research funds to women’s studies and gender research done by individuals and offers them a platform for getting the word out on their research results.
Projects to Date
The institute has carried out a variety of initiatives seeking a new direction in university education based on Women’s Studies / Gender Perspectives: Liberal Arts Education with a basic understanding of women’s self-development and careers by the Support Program for Distinctive University Education (Distinctive Good Practice).