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I think that the view of gender in Asia is being brought into specific challenge between modern and traditionalist as the world becomes increasingly globalized. Whether it is due to the proliferation of information technology or the exchange in ideas which is more prevalent now than before, women's roles are being brought into specific challenge between what has been culturally determined and what is actively chosen. In many Asian nations such as India, Singapore, Japan or Pakistan, women are able to actively partake in more opportunities open to them in terms of professional, educational, or social than before. Naturally, this collides with the traditionalist view of women as held in many Asian countries. For example, in Iran, where there is such a strong youth movement, many women are making active choices between aspects of their culture and their sense of gender, attempting to value one over the other or integrate them both in some type of order. The emergence and understanding of the Taliban and their approaches to women would highlight this collision. The conflicting narratives of gender, and in some cases, culture are being played out in many of these nations.
Asia is a big place with lots of different cultures. I doubt it makes any sense to lump Catholic Filipinos in with largely irreligious Japanese or Hindu Indians.
Since Japan is the country whose culture I know best, I'll talk about it.
In Japan, women are still relegated to a role much less liberated than that of most American women. Having now looked at the previous post, I disagree strongly that Japanese sex roles are similar to American ones. Everything I've read, combined with my discussions with the native Japanese women I know, tells me this.
Women are pretty much expected to work only until marriage and are therefore pretty much confined to dead-end jobs. Women are still more or less expected to put up with their husbands working until all hours and then staying out drinking with colleagues. This is changing some, but it's still pretty common.
This is very much in contrast with the US, where women are pretty well expected to have careers (although there are many jobs that are informally closed to them). There is also a great deal more equality in marriages here in the US.
Asia is a huge continent, in fact, the largest. So, your question is rather broad. In the light of this, I will limit myself to a few observations.
1. I would say that Asia is very similar to America in terms of views of gender now. As the world becomes more interconnected, the differences become less and less. This is especially so among intellectuals.
2. But if you consider ancient Asia, or Asia of even hundred years ago, women were seen as subordinate. But if you think about America a hundred years ago, it was pretty much the same way.
In conclusion, I would say that the more modern the world become, the more equal women are. And a more interesting question is not looking at women, based on geography, but looking at women from the point of view of religion.
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