Directed Research Paper

Paper written for TIAS 599 Directed Research

Socio-Structural Inequality: Educated Women and the Japanese Labor Market


In most industrialized societies today, the educational gender gap has nearly closed. Many of these nations are now granting more tertiary degrees to women than to men, and women are attaining high governmental and managerial positions with greater ease. Although the proverbial “glass ceiling” still exists in some domains within these countries, the ceiling is being pushed higher and higher. Japan, however, has not fully followed the trend set by its industrialized fellows. Instead, although the nation has nearly universal literacy, the proportion of higher educational degrees and managerial positions heavily favors the male population. In fact, while 48% of male high school graduates and 32% of female graduates attain university degrees, as of March, 2007, only “10.7% of senior corporate or political positions [are] held by women.” This trend is changing, but is facing considerable opposition from multiple factors.