Women in Protest: Gender and Social Movements in East Asia

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Women in Protest: Gender and Social Movements in East Asia
Stream: Sociology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Yuen Shan Lai, Lingnan University, Hong Kong (organizer, chair)
Susanne Choi, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (presenter)
Chang-Ling Huang, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (presenter)
Linda Hasunuma, University of Bridgeport, United States (presenter)
Pin Lü, University at Albany, State University of New York, United States (presenter)


The past two decades have witnessed many major social movements in Asia. Women participated actively in these movements. In spite of this, their roles have not been fully acknowledged. The gender dimension of social movements is often overlooked by the existing scholarship of social activism in contemporary Asia. This panel explores the intersection of gender and social movement by connecting the experiences of women activists in East Asian countries.  It aims to illustrate how gender shapes and is being shaped by non-institutional political participation. The presenters draw on social movements including the MeToo movements in Japan and South Korea, the Ciongzo in Taiwan, the feminist movement in China, and the recent Anti-extradition Law Movement in Hong Kong, to exemplify how women activists actively utilize their gender identities and transgress stereotypical gender boundaries to achieve their political agenda. It shows that gender, as an identity and a social system, may simultaneously constrain and empower women to participate in social movements, whether they are protesting at the front line or advocating through grassroots organizations. It also reveals the ongoing tension between feminist ideologies and the patriarchal culture entrenched in the mainstream social movements, and illustrates the means deployed by the women activists to reconcile these ideological and strategic conflicts.