Managing Gender Diversity in Asia

Managing Gender Diversity in Asia

A Research Companion

Edited by Mustafa F. Özbilgin and Jawad Syed

This timely Companion examines the unique codes and processes of managing gender diversity, equality and inclusion in Asia. Managing Gender Diversity in Asia covers the whole geography of Asia through chapters authored by eminent scholars in the field and thus provides an authoritative tool for a critical and evidence based understanding of gender diversity management in Asia. The distinctive nature of Asian institutional structures, approaches and processes are examined in order to account for variations in representation and inclusion at work for women and men.

Chapter 7: Japanese Equal Employment Opportunity Law: Implications for Diversity Management in Japan

Nadine Courmadias, Yuka Fujimoto and Charmine E.J. Härtel

Subjects: asian studies, asian business, business and management, asia business, diversity and management, human resource management, international business


Nadine Courmadias, Yuka Fujimoto and Charmine E.J. Härtel Introduction Japan is a soft-spoken nation when it comes to change for social equality. To date, Japan’s soft law approach has been described as one of the most significant characteristics of Japanese legislation and is known as the preferred Asian way (Araki, 2000: 466; Peng, 2000: 13). Along with Japan’s soft law approach, the dominant symbol of Japanese organizations has been its discriminatory work practices against women (Lam, 1992). In the year 2006, despite the UN’s ranking of Japan as 7th in the Human Development Index, in the same report, Japan was rated 69th in the Gender-related Development Index and 42nd for the Gender Empowerment Index, indicating serious gender inequality in the country (United Nations Development Programme, 2006). Ichiro Ozawa, former chief secretary of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said that the soft law approach taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL) was a quiet revolution to make a patient call for social change (Webster, 1999). When the EEOL was introduced, the Japanese legislature claimed that it was the way to an effective long-term solution for gender inequity (Parkinson, 1989; Araki, 2000: 466). Whether or not these views were accurate, this approach is no longer seen as legitimate to resolve the gender inequality in Japan. Even with the decline in lifetime employment and seniority promotion coupled with the increase in skill shortage in its internal labor market, gender inequity is largely embedded in Japanese work practices and culture (Benson et...

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