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“Practicum for Convivial Global Society” Open Seminar


(Dr. Nagata’s presentation on Bangladesh.)

A seminar open to all students on the subject of “Society, Women and Development in South Asia” was held on Saturday, July 5, 2014, as part of preparatory studies for this year’s “Practicum for Convivial Global Society,” a course available to all Ochanomizu University students offered by Global Collaboration Center. The seminar was designed to enhance understanding of both the current state of social and economic development in Bangladesh and Nepal, where students are scheduled to go on the study tour, and the interaction between gender norms and social development in both countries.

Ibaraki University College of Humanities Associate Professor Hanako Nagata, herself a graduate of Ochanomizu University’s doctoral program, spoke on “Industrialization and Gender in Bangladesh.” She offered a statistical overview of industrialization in Bangladesh, and discussed the history, present state and current issues facing the country’s garment manufacturing industry. She also presented a case study on a Japanese-owned Bangladeshi garment factory.

Associate Professor Masako Tanaka of Sophia University’s Faculty of Global Studies, who has been active on the ground in Nepal for many years, presented on “Society, Culture, Women and Development in Nepal.” She discussed current conditions and pending issues affecting the social exclusion and the political “inclusion” of Nepalese women. She also introduced the work of Shakti Samuha, a Nepalese NGO fighting trafficking in persons that she supports, and which is founded by trafficking survivors themselves.

Nineteen undergraduates, graduate students, and students from Ochanomizu University Senior High School attended the seminar and came away with much to think about. “My greatest lesson was Dr. Nagata’s warning not to unilaterally pity the women working in the garment factories without understanding their full circumstances” said one participant. Another attendee said the talk “made me think about what I myself can do” as a person who buys and wears clothing manufactured in Bangladesh.

About Nepal, one student said, “I was surprised to learn how multiethnic Nepal is and how deeply rooted the caste system still is there. It deepened my understanding of ‘inclusion” as a way of addressing these kinds of problems.” Regarding trafficking in persons, another said the talk “helped me to confront head-on the question of whether a choice made from among such a limited set of options can really be considered ‘self-determination.’”

The seminar provided invaluable background for the students who will be participating in the study tour.

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