Old Challenges, New Strategies

Women, Work and Family in Contemporary Asia


The essays in this volume explore women's working and family lives in contemporary East and Southeast Asia, focusing on conflict between family and work roles, structural obstacles in the workplace, and the impact of state policies on women’s well-being. It also discusses strategies that women employ in response to structural contraints provided in the context. This volume covers a particularly wide range of societies, some of which were rarely studied, in contemporary Asia. By comparing these ten Asian economies that are at different stages of economic development, the volume demonstrates the way in which gender relations transform in the course of development. The book is particularly important for sociologists and anthropologists who are interested in gender and economic development.


EUR €127.00USD $153.00

Biographical Note

Leng Leng Thang, Ph.D. (1997) in Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, is Assistant Professor at Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore. She is the author of Generations in Touch: Linking the old and young in Tokyo neighbourhood (Cornell University Press, 2001). Wei-hsin Yu, Ph.D. (1999) in Sociology, University of Chicago, is Assistant Research Fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She has published extensively on labor markets in East Asia and is currently working on a book comparing women's employment in Japan and Taiwan.

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Assessing Women’s Roles in Asian Economies, Wei-Hsin Yu and Leng Leng Thang Part I: Negotiating Dual Roles 2. Gender, Family, and Forms of Labor Force Participation: Women and Non-standard Employment in Japan and Taiwan, Wei-hsin Yu 3. Married Women’s Employment and Housework in South Korea, Sunhwa Lee 4. The Other Chief Executive Officer: Homemaking as a Sequencing Strategy and Career Project among Married Chinese Women in Singapore, Lai Ah Eng and Shirlena Huang Part II: Constraints in the Workplace 5. Clerical Work and Women's Employment in Japan: Female Occupation Theory Revisited, Shuichi Hirata 6. Changing Work Identities for Professional Women in Hong Kong, Ann Brooks 7. When Women Go Fishing: Women’s Work in Vietnamese Fishing Communities, Pham Van Bich Part III: State and Gendered Policies 8. Pink-Collared Workers and the Family in Modernizing Malaysia: A Case Study of the Garment Industry, Vicki Crinis 9. Social and Economic Development among Rural Women in Northern Thailand, Angeline Ames and Todd Ames 10. Women in Split Families: The Case of Mainland Chinese Wives and their Hong Kong Husbands, Vivian W.Q.Lou and Looi Looi Low Part IV: Globalization, Migration, and the Impacts on Women 11. Cooperation and Competition across Border Markets: Changes in the Definition of Women’s Weaving Activities in Lao-Thai Borderlands, Kyoko Kusakabe 12. Gendered Work, Migration, and Social Networks in Two Villages in West Java, Rachel Silvey 13. Challenging the Life Course; Japanese Single Working Women in Singapore, Leng Leng Thang, Miho Goda, Elizabeth MacLachlan


All those interested in family/work systems, gender inequality, economic development, migration and social change, as well as sociologistis and anthopologists who are concerned about contemporary Asian societies.