Now that we are discussing women's roles in animation, I felt this was the perfect time to unload this epic monster on your laps. This is a chapter from a book titled, "Kouittenron: The Heroine Image in Anime, SFX (tokusatsu) and Biography" by Minako Saitou. This chapter is devoted to three of Hayao Miyazaki's works: Future Boy Conan (1978), Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (1984), and Princess Mononoke (1997), and examines women's roles in each.
This is a masterful read, and it has helped me to understand Miyazaki's work from a Japanese perspective. This book has never been released in the West; it was instead carefully translated by a dedicated fan and posted on message boards a decade ago. This was purely an act of love, meant to share any and all news about Hayao Miyazaki long before DVD and YouTube made it possible.
These segments are in sequence, based on the sub-sections from the book. There are 11 sections in all. Parts I-IV discuss Future Boy Conan. Parts V-VII discuss Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. Parts VIII-XI discuss Princess Mononoke.
Update: Here are the links to all 11 posts from Minako Saitou's essay. Enjoy!
Future Boy Conan
Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind