Expressed Gender Diversity in the United States and Japan: A Comparison of Advanced Industrial Societies

Dr. David Novack,
Prof. Lesley Novack
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The current crisis in Japan involving the Crown Prince and his wife's depression over family and professional life visibly captures gradual changes in the gendered place of women and men in Japan. Change too is occurring in other advanced industrial/post industrial societies. In this paper, we explore the potential diversity involving gender-related attitudes of college women attending single sex institutions in these two societies. The focus is primarily on comparative views regarding: 1.) The ideal gender division of labor in the household (including financial decision-making and responsibility for domestic matters) along with the potential for gendered disagreement; 2.) Work and the family (including male/female income contributions, deferring one's career for a spouse's job, whether the mother of an infant should stay home, and the relative priority placed on career, spouse, and children); and 3.) Potential for attitudinal change (including the extent of traditionalism expressed with regard to the positions of men and women, views about the pace of gendered attitudinal change on the part of men and women, and perceptions about whether women and men can "have it all"). We initially expected to find fairly traditional views expressed in our Japanese women's college sample given the entrenched positions of men and women in Japan until recently. Although our results do capture a greater likelihood for American women to question and begin to move away from earlier gender attitudes and assumptions, Japanese women are also showing a surprising desire to move away from certain traditional attitudes but within the context of a broader commitment to a more conservative gender framework.

Keywords: Gender Diversity, Gender in Japan and the United States, Gender Change, Gender, Work, and Family, Gender and Post-Industrial Society
Stream: Gender and Sexuality
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. David Novack

Department Chair and Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Washington and Lee University

Professor Novack has a Doctorate in Sociology from New York University. He is currently the Chair of the department. His research has focused on class, race, and ethnicity in the lives of Irish-Americans in South Boston, Massachusetts. His most current research involves collaboration with his spouse, Lesley Novack, a developmental psychologist. She received her doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1986. The two Novacks have written and published extensively in the area of gender. The focus has been primarily on the ways in which conflict is expressed and power is manifested between the sexes. Recently, they have begun to examine factors that influence the relationship between changes in social structure and alteration of gender norms.

Prof. Lesley Novack

Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Mary Baldwin College

Professor Novack is on the faculty of the Mary Baldwin College. Her area of specialization is developmental psychology. Her research is primarily in the field of gender. Her current research involves collaboration with her spouse, David Novack, a sociologist. They have studied the associations between various cultural filters and perceptions pertaining to the importance of nature and nurture in gender relations. Their newest avenue of research involves a comparative analysis of Japanese and American female college students, allowing them to extend their previous work within a cross-cultural context.

Ref: D05P0025