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Higher Education and the Sexual Division of Labor

the schooling effect on women's continuous full-time employment
TANAKA Sigeto (tsigeto(AT)nik.sal.tohoku.ac.jp)
Kazuo SEIYAMA + Sachiko IMADA (ed.). 1998. 1995 SSM Tyousa Sirizu 12: Zyosei no Kyaria Kouzou to Sono Henka (1995 SSM Research Series 12: Changing Career Structures of Women). 1995 SSM Research Group (c/o Seiyama Kazuo, Department of Sociology, University of Tokyo): p. 1-16.

Offprint [full-text Japanese PDF 112KB]

Details are the section below, History.


This paper discusses the effect of education on Japanese women's continuous full-time employment (CFE). Excluding women employed in family enterprises, we focus on the modern sexual division of labor--- the division between occupational and domestic labor. First, we confirm with 1955-95 Japan census data that the number of full-time working women has been maintained, despite a substantial rise in their educational standards. Then we analyze personal histories of Japanese women. It seems, upon the first examination, that university graduates tend to pursue CFE. But this correlation between education and CFE disappears when the teaching field is exempted. The correlation is only a conditional one, made up with the known fact that the teaching profession provides significantly greater opportunities for CFE to highly educated women. Since the number of teachers is independent of the number of university graduates, it is difficult to relate fluctuations in the CFE rate and the educational standards. A logistic regression (excluding teachers) reports that women's education would have no significant effect on CFE, even if their husbands' occupational status and their own occupational status before marriage were kept constant. The results reject theories of the schooling effect, such as the sexist education theory and the human capital theory. We conclude that school has no effect on CFE, and that changes in educational standards can hardly alter the sexual division of labor.

Key words: gender ideology, human capital, social change


This paper was first presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of Kansai Syakaigakkai (Kansai Sociological Association) in Kurasiki.

I revised and submitted it to Syakaigaku Hyouron (Japanese Sociological Review: JSR). Which can be read on WWW:

Only the 1985 SSM data had been used until that version.

At the suggestion by JSR reviewers, I added the 1995 SSM data and revised the paper:

The addition of the 1995 SSM data led to a different conclusion from the earlier versions.

Volume 12 of 1995 SSM Research Series (1998) carries the final version of the paper. The differences from the JSR version are as follows:

I made an offprint (1998-05-25). Which is identical to pp. 1-16 of The 1995 SSM Research Series 12, but is followed by "Notes for the offprint" and "Table of contents". This offprint, typed on A4 size papers, is designed for a scale-down printing on B5 size papers.

The copyright for the paper is reserved by the author, Tanaka Sigeto. Duplication in any form without the author's permission is forbidden.

TANAKA Sigeto (tsigeto(AT)nik.sal.tohoku.ac.jp)

Created: 2000-03-01. Updated: 2002-04-22.