Gender and formal carework in Japan
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Throughout the world, elder carework is dominated by women. Accordingly, most studies on the association between carework and gender ideology have been made from women’s perspective only, focusing on how gender ideology affects women in carework, the experiences of carework as an occupation, and conditions for careworkers. However, because carework in long-term care facilities in Japan has been transformed by the combined influences of population aging, national long-term care insurance as a policy innovation, and the growing commercialization of elder care services business, many men work in formal carework. Little is known about how gender ideology affects the increasing numbers of Japanese men involved in carework. This dissertation research uses a mixed methods approach to focus on men and women formal careworkers in Japan to understand differences and similarities in dealing with the norms of gender role identity in carework. Empirical findings in this research show that gender ideology is rooted in not only careworkers’ experiences but also care recipients, affecting careworkers’ choice of their workplaces, likelihood of higher rank positions, career plans, and care recipients’ attitudes and behaviors toward men careworkers. Other important findings are gender differences in careworkers’ perceptions of their occupation, rooted in assumptions that traditionally male-dominant jobs are more likely to be highly evaluated and valued than “feminine” jobs. The findings suggest that a gender ideology framework that distinguishes among women and men careworkers increases understanding of the transformation of elder carework in Japanese society. Future research should consider possible impact of gender ideology on careworkers from the life-course perspective.