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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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Obligatory Femininity and Sexual Harassment

Obligatory Femininity and Sexual Harassment

(p.201) 7 Obligatory Femininity and Sexual Harassment
Too Few Women at the Top

Kumiko Nemoto

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores female workers' different interpretations and experiences of workplace sexual behaviors and interactions, and explains the processes by which workplace sexual interactions, including harmful behaviors, are normalized and tolerated. The chapter analyzes three types of sexual workplace interactions in Japanese firms that are described and interpreted very differently by women workers due to their differing contexts. These interactions include taking clients to hostess clubs, which women workers often see as “a part of their job;” playing the hostess role at after-work drinking meetings, where a certain amount of groping by men is seen as “joking around;” and repetitive or threatening sexual advances occurring during normal working hours. The chapter argues that women's interpretations of sexual behaviors can vary from enjoyable to harmful, depending on the organizational context.

Keywords:   workplace sexual behaviors, sexual harassment, female workers, Japanese firms, hostess clubs, sexual workplace interactions

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