Changing Determinants of Women's Continuous Employment at the Time of Family Formation: A Comparison Between Japan and Taiwan

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 417
Oral Presentation
Reiko YAMATO , Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University, Suita, Japan
[Background] Women’s work-family experience differs across countries. This study analyzes how different employment systems (including firms’ employment customs and public policies) lead to different work-family experiences for Japanese and Taiwanese women. The post-war employment system in Japan segregates workers according to gender and marital status assuming that women quit employment at marriage, and this system is more prevalent in large-scale firms and for clerical workers. Under this system, women employed in large firms or clerical occupations are more likely than others to retire at the time of marriage or childbirth in Japan. In Taiwan, the segregation is more on the basis of human capital than on gender and marital status, and therefore women with lower human capital are more likely than others to retire at marriage or childbirth. Since the 1990s, however, with intensifying global economic competitions and low birth rates in a backdrop, Japanese employment system has qualitatively changed: non-standard employment has expanded while measures for balancing work and family for standard employees have developed. Taiwanese system may be intensified under economic competitions but not qualitatively transformed. [Research question] This study analyzes how employment systems since the 1990s affect the work-family experience for Japanese and Taiwanese women. [Results] Analysis of data obtained from the 2005 Social Stratification and Mobility Survey reveals that the determinants of women’s continuous employment have changed in Japan: women in standard employment are more likely than those in non-standard employment to continue employment at marriage or childbirth while firm sizes and occupations no longer have large effects. In contrast in Taiwan, the situation that women with higher human capital are more likely to continue employment has not changed in this period. [Conclusions] Employment systems differ and historically change among East Asian societies, which produce different work-family experiences for women. Policy implications will be discussed.