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Employment of Women in Chinese Cultures

Half the Sky

Edited by Cherlyn Skromme Granrose

Examining the employment lives of Chinese women living under different government systems at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the contributors to this volume present an overview of factors affecting the employment status of women. The volume includes chapters on the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – nations that have common Chinese cultural experiences but very different economic systems and government structures.
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Chapter 1: Theoretical Perspectives on Women’s Employment Careers in a National Government Context

Cherlyn Skromme Granrose, Irene Hau-Siu Chow and Irene K.H. Chew


Cherlyn Skromme Granrose, Irene Hau-Siu Chow and Irene K.H. Chew At the turn of the twenty-first century, women held all kinds of occupations from corporate presidents, engineers, lawyers and doctors, to construction workers, homemakers and maids. But in many locations women were not distributed among these occupations in the way that men were distributed, and they were not paid the same as men who held these same occupations (Blackwell, 2003; Cohen, 2004; Burress and Zucca, 2004). This chapter is devoted to theoretical explanations of the careers of women, why the careers of women might differ from the career patterns of men, and in what way the national settings in which women and men live influence their careers. First, the chapter introduces some basic career vocabulary and career perspectives. The second part of the chapter reviews the competing theoretical models that are used to explain why women’s careers most often result in fewer women attaining top positions in organizational hierarchies, and in women more often being paid less than men. These theoretical perspectives are derived from European and American literature and are supplemented with examples from both Western and Asian empirical work. The chapter also includes a simple theoretical model for how national-level career constructs have an impact on careers, and discusses how these national differences might affect gender differences in careers. THEORETICAL CAREER PERSPECTIVES In American and European theory a career is ‘the evolving sequence of a person’s lifelong series of work related experiences...

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