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Towards a Lifestyle-Neutral Gender-Equal Policy

Are work-family reconciliation policies justifiable?
TANAKA Sigeto <http://www.sal.tohoku.ac.jp/~tsigeto/>
(Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University)
Unpublised manuscript

Full-text PDF file


Work-family reconciling policies have been under criticism for their lifestyle-nonneutral impact in favor of double-income households. The author examines why such policies has been required, and seeks possibilities for justification. Findings and implications are as follows. (1) Work-family reconciling policies are conservative attempts to conceal injustices in the labor market and in the family system without making any radical reform in those areas. (2) The lifestyle nonneutrality is essential to the policies because of their aim of discouraging people from career interruption to minimize the negative effect thereof. (3) There will be a room to justify the lifestyle nonneutrality, if the policies can prove effective in short period of time. (4) However, our statistical analysis reveals ineffectiveness of the policies up to now. (5) If the policies will still be ineffective in the future, it will be necessary to abandon the policies and to turnaround to a radical reform of the labor market and the family s ystem. (6) For such decision-making process, it will be necessary to develop statistics scheme for real-time observation of the effect of the policies.


continuity rate of full-time employment, abusive dismissal, financial provision on divorce, meritocracy, equity


Its earlier version (in Japanese) is under consideration for publication in 2007 by Tohoku University Press as a chapter of the volume 12 in the book series based on the research result by the 21st Century COE Program, Graduate School of Law, Tohoku University. A part of the sections 2(3) and 4(2) was presented at the 2006 annual conference of International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE), in Sydney. The author gratefully thanks to participants in the COE program and in the IAFFE conference for their comments.

The data for this secondary analysis, "The second National Family Research of Japan, NFRJ03, The National Family Research Committee of the Japan Society of Family Sociology" was provided by the Social Science Japan Data Archive, Information Center for Social Science Research on Japan, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo.

This paper is based on research granted by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (17710205), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Government of Japan.

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