Who represents women and why in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly

Kimiko Osawa, Jiso Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper examines how women’s presence makes a difference in the realm of women’s substantive representation, focusing on the case of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. We define substantive representation as legislators’ actions on behalf of women, through which they try to represent women’s interests and seek solutions to the problems and difficulties they face. First, we examined the statements made by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members in legislative debates. We then conducted in-depth interviews with five female assembly members who spoke for women considerably more than all the others, in order to understand what they did for women and why, in addition to the difficulties they faced in putting their ideas into practice. Our findings show that female members of minor parties and independent members were passionate about acting for women, but their ability to actually implement their ideas in the way of policy outputs was limited, because of institutional constraints, such as weak policy powers of the legislature and their minority status. Overall, our study builds on research on women’s substantive representation by reaffirming the importance of political parties and institutions as key factors shaping the process and outcomes of women’s substantive representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-458
Number of pages22
JournalAsian Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Female legislators
  • Japan
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
  • local councils
  • substantive representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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