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Gender Inequality in the Japanese Occupational Structure

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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This study examines the degree of sex segregation in the Japanese occupational structure from a comparative perspective with the British and American societies. Contrary to the expectation that Japan is a traditional society as far as the status of women in the labor market is concerned, the overall degree of sex segregation in Japan is smaller than it is in Great Britain and the United States. The low degree of sex segregation may be explained by two factors: (1) relatively smaller shares of managerial and service occupations in which men and women respectively are over-represented, and (2) more equal sex composition in clerical, blue-collar production process, and agricultural occupations. Opportunities for part-time work seem to further reduce the sex segregation index in Japan, unlike in Britain and the United States, because many Japanese female part-time workers are engaged in blue-collar occupations rather than white-collar occupations. However, gender inequality in the Japanese labor market is probably manifested in the form of access to authority in the workplace, employment status, and full-time/part-time distinction within occupations.

Affiliations: 1: East Asian Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, U.S.A.; 2: Department of Sociology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, U.S.A.


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