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I Am the Only Woman in Suits: Chinese Immigrants and Gendered Careers in Corporate Japan
Unformatted Document Text:  Foreign direct investments, on the other hand, increase gender equality in the labor market by reducing income gaps between men and women and providing more career opportunities to women working in foreign firms (Valarreal and Yu 2007, Ono 2007). This study, through Chinese immigrant women’s labor market experiences in Japanese firms, explores the impacts of a third aspect of economic globalization—international labor migration— on gender stratification in the labor market. Gender inequality characterizes Japanese firms’ employment practices. Corporate Japanese women face insurmountable institutional and organizational barriers in their career advancement. Compared to men with similar educational backgrounds, they are assigned to corporate positions with fewer responsibilities, less income earning potential and fewer promotion opportunities (Brinton 1992). Foreign direct investment provides a much needed career alternative to Japanese women. Ono (2007)’s comparison of Japanese employees’ career patterns in foreign and domestic firms in Japan indicates that foreign corporations in Japan, with their short-term market-based operational logic and skill centered personnel management styles, provide better pay and more job opportunities to Japanese women than those working in domestic firms (Ono 2007). As a consequence, many Japanese women seek international education in US professional schools to gain access to foreign firms in Japan (Sugano 1990, Ono and Piper 2004). The current study investigates how another form of economic globalization— international labor migration—together with other economic forces might also bring about changes to the gendered employment structure in Japanese firms. While through international education many Japanese women seek to break out of the domestic labor 2

Authors: Liu-Farrer, Gracia.
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Foreign direct investments, on the other hand, increase gender equality in the labor market 
by reducing income gaps between men and women and providing more career opportunities 
to women working in foreign firms (Valarreal and Yu 2007, Ono 2007). This study, 
through Chinese immigrant women’s labor market experiences in Japanese firms, explores 
the impacts of a third aspect of economic globalization—international labor migration— on 
gender stratification in the labor market.   
Gender inequality characterizes Japanese firms’ employment practices. Corporate 
Japanese women face insurmountable institutional and organizational barriers in their 
career advancement. Compared to men with similar educational backgrounds, they are 
assigned to corporate positions with fewer responsibilities, less income earning potential 
and fewer promotion opportunities (Brinton 1992). Foreign direct investment provides a 
much needed career alternative to Japanese women. Ono (2007)’s comparison of Japanese 
employees’ career patterns in foreign and domestic firms in Japan indicates that foreign 
corporations in Japan, with their short-term market-based operational logic and skill 
centered personnel management styles, provide better pay and more job opportunities to 
Japanese women than those working in domestic firms (Ono 2007). As a consequence, 
many Japanese women seek international education in US professional schools to gain 
access to foreign firms in Japan (Sugano 1990, Ono and Piper 2004). 
The current study investigates how another form of economic globalization—
international labor migration—together with other economic forces might also bring about 
changes to the gendered employment structure in Japanese firms. While through 
international education many Japanese women seek to break out of the domestic labor 

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