Why is progress in gender inequality in Japan so slow? In its efforts to increase female leadership, how is Japan differ from other developed countries? This talk will explain how women’s advancement in the corporate sector in Japan has been impeded by continuing gender gaps in hiring and promotions at Japanese companies, a large gender gap in elite college enrollment, family burdens, and the slowness of reforms to organizational customs, particularly the age-based hierarchy. Japan differs distinctly from countries with liberal market economies, such as the United States, and from social democratic counties, such as Sweden, in its unwillingness to liberalize the labor market, its insistence on adhering to traditional hierarchies, and its underdeveloped democratic values, all of which contribute to a lack of women leaders. The talk will conclude with an evaluation of ongoing changes in firms, schools, and families in Japan.
Kumiko Nemoto is a professor of management in the School of Business Administration at Senshu University in Tokyo, Japan. Her research focuses on gender, work, organizations, and institutional conditions. She completed her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Too Few Women at the Top: The Persistence of Inequality in Japan (Cornell University Press, 2016) and Racing Romance: Love, Power, and Desire among Asian American/White Couples (Rutgers University Press, 2009). Recent publications include “Global Production, Local Racialized Masculinities: Profit Pressure and Risk-Taking Acts in a Japanese Auto-Parts Company in the United States,” in Men and Masculinities (2018), and “The Origins and Transformations of Conservative Gender Regimes in Germany and Japan,” in Social Politics (with Karen Shire). Nemoto is currently working on research regarding gender differences in career mobility and pathways in Japan, Norway, and the United States.