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Gender Ideology in the U.S. and Japan


America and Japan have individuals from different cultures and ethnic groups. In the two countries, there are other variations such as people of different classes. The different races, ethnic groups and classes of people in America and Japan lead to cross cultural variations on the roles of individuals of same gender from the different groups. Cross-cultural variations of gender roles in America and Japan regard the roles that different individuals of a certain gender assume as a result of their race, ethnic group, and class. In America, there are individuals from different backgrounds such as the African Americans, the whites, Asian Americans, and others. Individuals from some races such as the African Americans are given some minor roles that are believed to be for those whose dignity is low. The people in Japan also vary in terms of race, ethnicity, and class though there are only a few variations. Individuals from certain races in Japan are discriminated as a result of their races, class, and ethnic group. Regardless of the advancement that has reduced cross-cultural variations, gender roles of men and women still vary across different cultures in America and Japan because the roles that some individuals from different cultures, ethnic groups, and classes take are quite different.

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Variations of Roles of Women in America

In America, there exist women from different cultural groups, races, ethnic groups, and classes. In most cultural groups, most women have fought for equality and they have achieved this goal where any activity that can be done by a man can also be done by a woman. However, across cultures, ethnic groups, races, and classes, the roles of women differ and even their positions in families and work places are affected (Miller, 2007, p. 6). For example, women who are whites get first priorities when a quality job exists. Women from other races are given those jobs that are regarded as minor ones and whose payment is very low. Women married to prominent people in the country belong to a class that cannot and will not take minor responsibilities. For example, ninety eight percent of judges in courts are the whites (Information Office of China’s State Council, 2008, prg.8). The individuals who have lately received death sentences are the blacks and other races. Existence of such discriminations shows the existence of cross-cultural variations in America.

The constitution of America states that individuals from different races in the country must be treated equally under the law. However, this is not the case because the roles of women from different races in the country are not equal. In such companies, it is clear that most of the female employees are white. There is no evidence of the criteria that is at times used in hiring individuals in some organizations. An African American may be more qualified for a vacancy than a white but at the end of the day; the African American loses the opportunity to the white. If the African American women happen to receive any jobs from such companies, their roles are very low on the totem pole and they work under the whites regardless of their levels of education. In large organizations, the whites alone make over ninety percent of workforce while the remaining percentage of workforce is taken by the other races. In a company like the Computer Microsoft Giant which has over twenty thousand employees, there were only about five hundred and fifty African Americans and they took the minor jobs (Information Office of China’s State Council, 2008, prg.12). The rate of unemployment for the whites both for men and women to the other races is 2.4:1. These women from the other races take the trifling jobs in the country. The ratio is quite different because the whites do not take over ninety percent of the total population. The whites take about eighty percent of the total population in the United States.

There are some women in America that are believed to belong to certain classes depending on who they are where they live. These women are given roles that cannot be assumed by ordinary women in the society. These women become managers and directors in departments in large organizations. Research done reveals that ninety percent of chief executives and managers in large organizations cannot give the black people similar responsibilities to the ones they assume (Information Office of China’s State Council, 2008, prg.5). Those who are believed to belong to the high class are given jobs to become in charge other employees in the departments.

America also has different ethnic groups and women from certain groups get different treatment and are assumed to take different roles depending on the specific ethnic group that an individual comes from. However, the roles of women from different ethnic groups Latino and the Hispanic assume almost equal positions and roles in the society.

Variations of Roles of Women in Japan

The cross-cultural differences in Japan are not as common as the ones in America. However, there exist some similarities and differences in their roles. For example, the roles of women across different cultures due to race are not as common as they are in America basically due to lack of some races in the country. Women from different races in Japan receive equal opportunities when it comes to jobs in different organizations. The rate of unemployment across different cultures is quite low than the case in America. However, some individuals from certain groups such as the Okinawans who live in the Lyukyu Islands are not recognized by the government (Human Rights Features, 2002, prg.4). However, men in some areas assume higher positions and roles than women especially in fields such as engineering and architecture. In Japan, cross-cultural roles amongst women come as a result of ethnicity. Japan as a country believes that the successes that it has achieved are as a result of lack of minor ethnic groups in the country. They believe that were it not for the African Americans and Hispanics in America, America could have developed much more than it has developed today. To them, Africans Americans and Mexican Americans are not academically competitive and therefore they do not encourage enrolment of such in their schools. Also, Korean students in Japan schools are discriminated (Human Rights Features, 2002, prg.6)

As a matter of fact, about ninety eight percent of the population in Japan is made up the Japanese. The remaining percentage consists of Koreans, Chinese, and others. For the few African American women in the country, they assume those roles that are very minor and do not affect the resources of the country in a great way. Women from different races especially the Chinese, the Koreans and the Japanese play almost similar roles though the proportion is different as is evident in the total population (Matthew, 2006, p. 284). Women in America especially the white Americans assume both public and private roles. This is quite different with the case in Japan where most women in Japan mostly perform private roles. The private roles of these women in Japan do not differ much as many of them cater for the needs of the family regardless of their ethnic group or race. Women from the different cultures and races spend their time planning on the successes of their families. The transfer of a man to a new place because of a new job in Japan leaves other members of the family intact since it is the responsibility of these women to cater for the family needs.

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Variations of Roles of Men in America

Just like the case of women, America consists of men from different races. The roles that men assume in the country in relation to the roles that women assume are a little different. However, variations still do exist in some areas where men, who are African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans, still have different roles from the whites. For example, the white youths who receive higher education make over forty percent while its only twenty two percent of the Latin Americans youths have access to higher education (Information Office of China’s State Council, 2008, prg.9). In some companies, senior roles are for the whites and these are the individuals who are supposed to supervise the work of the other races. However, the case of men is different in America where there are a few African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans who act as CEO’s in a few companies. In fact, the current president of the United States of America is African American. This is symbol that the roles of men in relation to that of women due to race are a bit different. However, comparing those individuals assuming major positions in large organizations and also in the government, it is evident that the whites assume better and senior positions in the country (Matthew, 2006, p. 284). This is an indication that the roles of men differ across the races. Discrimination due to the color of the skin is very bad and it makes individuals assume minor identity. Research that has been done shows that most of the individuals who have been sexually harassed are those who have immigrated to the country from other countries. The African Americans make about twelve percent of the total population in the United States yet about a half of the two million inmates in prisons in America are the black Americans (Information Office of China’s State Council, 2008, prg.11).

There are some jobs that are generally accepted to be taken by men in the society. Some of these jobs are very hard while others are special and pay very well. Those jobs that are quite hard or physically demanding do not pay as much as those that exist in the offices. In American, there are some jobs that the white men cannot take and can only be given to individuals from different races. The roles of the whites are not to take those minor jobs that appear as demeaning. In the military, the proportion of whites to that of other races is also different where that of the whites is very high. The whites take over sixty percent in the military while the rest is shared by other races. Most of the generals and the commanders are also whites showing that the roles of individuals from other races are minor. About seventy percent of the generals and commanders are whites.

Variations of Roles of Men in Japan

As stated before, the number of different ethnic groups in Japan is very small and therefore cross-cultural variations due to race among both men and women are not as common as they are in America. The ratio of unemployment for the whites to other races in relation to the ratio of populations is quite different from that in Japan because in Japan, it’s almost equal. Variations in the roles of male Japanese occur where the roles that men from Japan assume are the senior ones such as giving instructions for the minor races to carry out the work (Weiner, 2006, p. 5). However, men in Japan perform both simple and hard jobs since the minor races and ethnic groups are not as many. Most of the companies are dominated by men and the management in such company is made up of the Japanese. This is quite different from the case of America where many companies have employees who are both men and women and any of them especially the whites can assume the top positions in the companies. Men in America have an upper hand in marriage institution but almost all men across the different cultures in Japan do not make decisions concerning the life of the family.

It is important to note that lack of cross-cultural variations among men and women in Japan are as a result of lack of many races and ethnic groups in the country. This implies that the few individuals from races such as the African Americans and the Mexican Americans in Japan assume minor roles in relation to those that the Japanese men and women assume. These are roles such as cleaning of floors by an individual who is trained in a bigger profession but given the role just because he or she is not of the Japanese origin. The Chinese and the Koreans men who attend schools cannot be selected to assume positions of leadership in those schools. Those individuals who are not Japanese and train to be teachers cannot teach in institutions of higher learning because their capacities are assumed to be lower. There are also some schools which are of high class and individuals from certain races cannot teach in them.

In contrast to cross cultural variations, the roles that men and women from each race assume differ in the two countries. In Japan, the wife does the household chores and makes all plans concerning the family. These are plans such as shifting to a new house and what is to be done by the family. They also fund most of the family projects and know what is to be consumed in the family. In America, the ladies perform the household chores such as cooking but in most cases, there is a house help who helps in washing, cooking, and other family jobs. The husband and the wife in America make decisions regarding the family together and contribute to the welfare of the family together.


Many countries in the world contain individuals of different races, ethnic groups, classes, etc. the roles of men and women differ across different cultures but the trends has today changed in most of the societies where both men and women can assume any roles in the society. However, in those countries where there are individuals from different races and ethnic groups, the roles that women play in the country differ depending on the society from which the individuals come from. This is also true for men where the roles of men in a country may differ depending on the race and ethnic groups of individuals in the country. In America, there exist many races which give room for women from different races to assume different roles where some assume senior roles and others assume minor roles. African American women assume minor positions in companies, in the military, in healthcare organizations, etc. Women in America and Japan play a significantly lesser role in the workforce and a significantly more important role in the home. The case is not very common in Japan but the difference can be assumed to be as a result of lack of some races and ethnic groups in Japan. However, the roles that women from different ethnic groups and races play in America differ. The case for men is not very different because very few individuals from the minor races and ethnic groups such as the African Americans can be seen to assume top positions in the country. However, the case for men is quite different from that of women because there are a few men in top positions including the president of the United States. Cross-cultural variation is seen because most of the men assume those minor roles not because they are incapable but because their races and ethnic groups are not of the whites.

Reference List

Human Rights Features, (2002). Japan’s Minority Yet to find Their Place in the Sun. Web.

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Information Office of China’s State Council, (2008). Racial Discrimination Prevails- Minorities III Treated.

Matthew, L. E. (2006). Gender Ideology in the U.S. and Japan: Cross Cultural Measurement Equivalence. Journal of Cultural Anthropology. 8(3): 278-290.

Miller, B. (2007). Cultural Anthropology (4th Ed). New Jersey: Allyn & Bacon, p.1-523.

Weiner, M. (2006). Race, Ethnicity and Migration in Modern Japan. New York: Taylor & Francis.

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