2002 Volume 75 Issue 9 Pages 571-590
This paper reviews the geographic perspectives on gender and the workplace in Japan and discusses these developments in a Japanese geographic context. Although some geographic studies have been conducted in Japan on the gendered workplace, they have taken a limited viewpoint of gender perspectives. The author critically examines several papers on the spatial division of labor and time-geography, because these studies neglected gender relations in the workplace.
Reviewing studies by feminist geographers on the new gender order emerging with post-Fordism (McDowell 1991) and the microgeographies of the workplace constructed based on gender relations, this paper attempts to recognize the changing gender order and everyday gender relations in workplaces in Japan. In the Toyotism period (since the 1970s-80s), it was likely that occupational segregation and gender division of labor were different from these in Western countries. However, the situation changed in the 1990s. Restructuring in the 1990s affected gender relations in the workplace, but it also affected the boundary between the home and the workplace. A new space, where boundaries between the home and workplace are unclear, is emerging.
When examining how the new gender order in Japan is constructed, microgeographies in the workplace, economic/social/cultural/political factors, and networks must all be taken into account.