Forging Horizontal Ties among Educators: The Tama Gender Education Network Kicks Off!

Director of Center for Gender Research and Social Sciences
Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University

【The article below is the same as the article that appears in the thirteenth issue of the CGS Newsletter.】

The Tama Gender Education Network was formed in 2009 in response to the call for a network to facilitate interaction among the often-isolated university educators in the field ofgender (see CGS Newsletter, vol. 11). It is co-hosted by CGS and Hitotsubashi University's Center for Gender Research and SocialSciences (CGraSS).

When we first sent out invitations and questionnaires to 156 gender-related university educators in the Tama region, there were 40 respondents. We wondered just how many would participate in our first meeting at ICU on November 16th, but the 18 participants exceeded our expectations. At the meeting we presented the results of the questionnaires. They indicated that respondents had high expectations of the network, with comments such as "it's certainly empowering." We also discussed the lone battle that some of us are fighting at our universities and the urgent need for cooperation and exchange. Some of the participants expressed their desire to share education methods
and materials, to receive information on guest speakers, and to create a collaborative curriculum. It was also decided that we would broaden the network to include doctoral students, whomay become part-time lecturers in the near future.
The second meeting on January 22nd was also held at ICU. Presentations were made by representatives from two universities who have a proven record in gender studies. They discussed topics such as syllabus, lesson planning and student reactions. Of particular interest to me was Keiko Takeuchi's (Seikei University) comment that it was difficult to make students realize that problems such as the escalation of domestic violence despite the increasing opportunities for women were problems that concerned them all, not just other people. Miho Morioka (Chuo University) also spoke about the need to raise issues that students could easily relate to, as well as the need for the development of men's studies and for male lecturers.
Pure white snow greeted our third meeting on March 9th at Chuo University, with 17 participants. The main topic was the educational approach and activities of universities with established programs in gender studies. The speakers were Teruko Inoue of Wako University and Etsuko Kato of ICU. Wako University has a leading gender studies program and issues certificates to students who complete it. ICU offers a major in gender and sexuality studies and is the home of CGS. I thought that the strengths of both universities lay in their large base of student involvement thanks to the facilities they provide for students interested in gender studies.
The fourth meeting on July 1st at Hitotsubashi University featured a report on Hitotsubashi's budding gender education program as well as discussions on the future administration of the Tama Gender Education Network. We look forward to welcoming
more and more participants at our upcoming events. Thank you for your continued support of the network!