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Hardcover | Out of Print | 296 pp. | 6 x 9 in | June 1999 | ISBN: 9780262194150
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The Road Winds Uphill All the Way

Gender, Work, and Family in the United States and Japan


In a time of societal transition, women and men around the globe struggle to combine careers and family in new ways. However, conventional work and family structures and power imbalances between women and men often reinforce traditional gender stereotypes in both home and office.

In an effort to understand the roots of gender inequality, Myra Strober and Agnes Miling Kaneko Chan conducted an extensive survey of the 1981 graduates of Stanford and Tokyo Universities—parallel populations in historically very different cultures. First-hand comments from the graduates are combined with quantitative analyses for a lively examination of the career and family choices of these highly educated women and men. Contrasting the realities of household responsibilities, childcare, and discrimination in the workplace with the graduates' original expectations, the authors find that the road to more egalitarian work and family arrangements winds uphill all the way.

The authors take a fresh look at the widespread belief that U.S. gender equity is light years ahead of Japan's. The elite group of Japanese and Americans in their study describe surprisingly similar experiences as they faced the job market and began raising families. In both countries, more balanced gender roles will require improved public and business policies, individual strategies, and collective action.

About the Authors

Myra Strober is a labor economist. She is Professor (Emerita) at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, and Professor of Economics at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (by courtesy). She is the coauthor of The Road Winds Uphill All the Way: Gender, Work, and Family in the United States and Japan (MIT Press).

Agnes Miling Kaneko Chan is

a professor at Mejiro University and at the Nagoya Cultural Women's

College, a singer, a television personality, and Ambassador of the

Japan Committee for UNICEF.


“This carefully reasoned and researched study alerts us to the continuing problems even the best-educated and motivated women face as they reconcile careers and families. An outstanding cross-national exploration of the enduring structural and ideological bases of inequality at work and in the home, and of the possibilities for change.”
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Author of Deceptive Distinctions: Sex Gender and the Social Order and The Part-Time Paradox: Time Norms, Professional Life, Family and Gender
“FAscinating, relevant, and absorbing. The clear thinking and clear writing in this book brings an energy and forcefulness to the important subjects of gender, work, and family issues. After an in-depth analysis of the problems, Strober and Chan go on to describe realistic, needed improvements--both in individuals' strategies and in workplace policies. People interested in creating a healthier workplace need to read this!”
Cacile Andrews, Ed.D., author of The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life
“Thanks to brilliant survey work, Strober and Chan's comparison of the home lives and careers of graduates of elite institutions in the United States and Japan puts gender relations in both societies into perspective. Their finding that—in many respects the women graduates in the United States are not far ahead of their sisters in Japan—should occasion surprised and rueful reflection among American students of gender issues.”
Barbara R. Bergmann, Professor Emerita of Economics, University of Maryland and American University
“This wonderfully detailed study of the renegotiation of traditional gender roles provides a cross-cultural lesson in how educated women are moving mountains as well as climbing them.”
Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst