Research Handbook on Women in International Management
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Research Handbook on Women in International Management

Edited by Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova

The Research Handbook on Women in International Management is a carefully designed collection of contributions that provides a thorough and nuanced discussion of how women engage in international management. It also offers important insights into emerging and new areas of research warranting future consideration.
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Chapter 7: Women expatriates from East Asia

Fang Lee Cooke


Despite the growing research interest in women expatriates from the perspectives of international human resource management (HRM) and gender studies, little is known regarding women expatriates from East Asian countries. Geographically, East Asia consists of the greater China (including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Japan, South Korea, North Korea and Mongolia. For the purpose of this chapter, I will focus mainly on China, Japan and South Korea (hereafter Korea). They are chosen for discussion here not only because they are the three largest and economically most developed countries, but also because they share similar cultural values, particularly Confucianism, that have profound implications for gender relations. However, despite their geographical and cultural proximities, relatively similar economic growth stages and the profound historical influence they have upon each other, these three major countries exhibit significant differences in their contemporary political systems, employment-related institutional arrangements and, consequently, patterns of employment outcome, with gendered implications. Japan and Korea are developed countries, whereas China is an emerging economy with rising economic power globally that is accompanied by sharpening disparity across the country. Japan and Korea are small countries in terms of geographical and population size and have different industrial structures compared with China. China is a socialist country that has been under the control of the Communist Party since 1949. It began its economic transformation in the late 1970s.

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