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Too Few Women at the TopThe Persistence of Inequality in Japan$
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Kumiko Nemoto

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702488

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702488.001.0001

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Women as Cheap Labor

Women as Cheap Labor

Salaries, Promotions, Ghettos, and the Culture of Woman Blaming

(p.98) 4 Women as Cheap Labor
Too Few Women at the Top

Kumiko Nemoto

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at how major Japanese management and employment practices—seniority pay and promotion, track hiring, and household benefits—work against women's upward mobility and reify sex segregation in Japanese companies. It compares the salaries and benefits of men and women in similar age groups in the five companies, while explaining the current Japanese employment system, which is based on seniority pay, track hiring, and household benefits, and is highly gender biased. Within the career-track system, firms can hire women as career-track, contract, or temporary workers. The current system legitimizes women's cheap labor and provides low motivation for upward mobility. The chapter also discusses how such a gender-divisive hiring and pay structure has generated tensions among women workers and how it has contributed to their low aspirations.

Keywords:   sex segregation, Japanese employment system, Japanese management, Japanese employment practices, women workers, cheap labor, seniority pay, track hiring

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