Communicating gender equity in the public sector workplace in Hokkaido, Japan

Kawana, Sanae (2003) Communicating gender equity in the public sector workplace in Hokkaido, Japan. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Very few qualitative studies based on first-hand research have been conducted regarding gender equity, especially in the public sector in Japan. The qualitative research in this thesis is therefore unique because it focuses on the public sector employees in a Japanese rural setting. Secondly, this exploratory ethnographic study elucidates the cultural and communication problems connected with gender equity policies in Japan and the social construction of the meaning of gender in a Japanese local government workplace. A feminist conceptual framework was developed to analyse the findings in this thesis, which provides a new interpretation about this social phenomenon. Triangulation was used to enhance the validity of this case study. The major methods used are: (a) open-ended, in-depth interviews with key persons and informal interviews with the employees of the public sector; (b) two focus group discussions: one of six males and six females from three levels in local government; (c) follow up questionnaires of30 male and female workers; (d) participant observation; (e) an analysis of archives of surveys of concepts on gender equity in local government employees, Chitose citizens, and Hokkaido people. As all public organisations are influenced by national government policies on gender equity, the findings are argued to have some generalisability. Being influenced by the world women's conferences since the 1970s, the Japanese government has enforced several gender equity policies. Nevertheless, some empirical secondary data indicate that working environments have changed little since the new law was introduced (Inoue et al., 1999). Under the umbrella of these national policies, local governments established their own plans; however, no effective implementation of these plans has been observed (Yazawa et al., 1997). One possible reason for this is that few people are aware of what gender discrimination means from a sociological point of view. Indeed, few women in Japan have spoken out about gender inequalities. The other reason is the communication barriers that exist between male and female employees in discussing gender relationships (Banzai, 1999; Hale, 1999; Kashima, 1999). Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify hidden cultural and communication barriers in the Japanese workplace in order to facilitate the implementation of gender equity policies.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 36365
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Hatcher, Caroline & Lennie, June
Additional Information: Presented to the Brisbane Graduate School of Business, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Communication in organizations Japan Hokkaido, Women in the civil service Japan Hokkaido, Sex discrimination in employment Japan Hokkaido, Women Employment Japan Hokkaido, gender equity, power, public sector, workplace, communication, thesis, masters
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Sanae Kawana
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:05
Last Modified: 03 May 2017 22:56

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