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Foreign employers as relief routes: women, multinational corporations and managerial careers in Japan

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  • Ödül Bozkurt
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Gender, Work and Organization
Issue number3
Volume19
Number of pages29
Pages (from-to)225-253
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article argues that multinational corporations may provide critical relief routes for women workers' progress in managerial careers in national contexts where their career paths with domestic employers remain blocked by traditional and institutional practices. It illustrates this possibility through a study of two women managers at the local head office of a foreign-owned multinational retailer in Japan and their career trajectories. The alternative career paths through foreign employers are not without their contingencies and constraints, and the article identifies the limitations of the transformative potential foreign employers could have in the larger realm of women's managerial employment in a restrictive context such as Japan. Noting that globalization incorporates different groups of workers into the global economy with different costs and rewards, the article concludes by calling for a more nuanced understanding of women's employment with multinationals and for further research that remains cognizant of the multiplicity of experiences in different contexts.