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Tag Archives: Women In The Workplace

by Joan Williams

A recent article in Slate (based on an article in the Guardian) reports that many young Japanese have lost interest in sex. The Japan Family Planning Association found that 45 percent of women aged 16-24, and 25 percent of the men, “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” A 2011 survey found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in a romantic relationship. A third of Japanese under 30, according to another study, have never dated at all.

What’s the turnoff? Traditional gender roles. “Japan’s punishing corporate world makes it almost impossible for women to combine a career and family,” the Guardian journalist Abigail Haworth writes, “while children are unaffordable unless both parents work.” Nearly 70 percent of Japanese women quit their jobs after their first child, forced out by long hours and hostility toward working mothers, not-so-affectionately called oniyome (“devil wives”).

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by Robin J. Ely and Irene Padavic

Flexible work arrangements are widely championed as remedies for the dearth of women in senior leadership positions. Women “opt-out” when the demands of work and family conflict, so letting them telecommute or work part time facilitates work-life balance, allowing them to stay on the career track. Or so the narrative goes.

In reality, the success of these “family-friendly” policies has been uneven. They are often underused — and for good reason. Research shows that employees who take advantage of “flex” policies are typically removed from the fast track, derailing their career progress. Moreover, these programs have not increased the number of women in senior leadership roles.

Perhaps this is because they do not solve the right problem.

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by Lindsey Trimble O’Connor and Christin L. Munsch

AMC’s hit show Mad Men has received widespread critical acclaim, in part, for its depiction of changing social mores surrounding gender, work, and family. Set in the 1960s, three-martini lunches, overt sexual harassment and stay-at-home wives are the norm. The workplace sure has changed … or has it?

Workplace norms of yesterday were based on a gendered division of labor in which men were breadwinners and women were caretakers. Because women took responsibility for the domestic realm, men could work full-time, without interruption, throughout their lives. With few — if any — disruptions from family life, men were able to put in long hours, on-site, day in and day out. Although these norms were sometimes demanding, workers who complied with them could expect to climb the corporate ladder.

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