Despite the increasing participation of women in the workforce and the establishment of laws prohibiting gender discrimination, it is not clear why gender inequality still persists in Japanese society. To address this question, this paper explains the mechanisms of the persistence of gender inequality from the perspective of work and family. First, the rapid changes in the Japanese society, laws, and economic structure over the past four decades are presented. Next, I review literature on the psychology and sociology of gender role attitudes and the longitudinal changes in these attitudes. In addition, seven gender disparities in the workplace (e.g., gender wage gap and proportion of women in managerial positions) are discussed in relation to family roles.
The overall results reveal that the following five factors contribute to the persistence of gender inequalities: 1. division of labor by gender; 2. long working hours, employment systems, and employment practices; 3. gender role stereotypes and expectations; 4. inconsistent management practices between positive attitudes towards promoting women and traditional gender role attitudes; and 5. traditional gender role attitudes and gender identity of a woman as a wife.