Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Stephen B. Groce (Director), Douglas C. Smith, Lauren McClain

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Expatriation from Japanese companies has been considered mainly for men. This research focuses on gradually increasing Japanese expatriate women’s experiences in the United States. Using structuration theory (Giddens, 1984) and doing gender (West & Zimmerman, 1987), gender practices and (re)production of gendered structure at Japanese organizations in the United States are illustrated. It is exploratory research without prior research focusing on the subjects. Literature review, therefore, covers three relevant areas: women in workplace in Japan, Japanese expatriates in the United States, and women in international assignments from western countries. This research employs qualitative research method to understand the social world of Japanese expatriate women in the United States. Twenty participants are gathered through convenience and snowballing sample techniques. Findings are in two areas: private and organizational spheres. Gender plays a significant role in both areas. Organizations are officially gender free, but it is time to face that women are disadvantaged because of their gender. Particularly, most of participants reproduce gendered practice that expatriation is for men or women who can work like men. Therefore, an expatriate woman with a child and another with trailing husband in the United States face challenges. Japanese companies should acknowledge that organizational system do not reflect women’s perspectives at expatriatism. Japanese expatriate women should also take an active role in networking and mentoring for greater participation of women in international assignments in the future.


Asian Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology | Sociology of Culture