Gender in Japan Series Female Managers and the Gender Wage Gap: Workgroup Gender Composition Matters

Thursday, 30 September 2021 | 9:00am - 10:00am (JST)
  • Young-Mi Kim Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Yonsei University
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director

Women’s representation in managerial positions is a common metric for gender equity in organizations. Whether female managers improve gender equity among their subordinates is, however, less clear. Drawing on rich longitudinal personnel data from a large Korean food company, we provide new insight into this question by focusing attention on key micro-contexts for interaction and relational politics within organizations: workgroups. Building on social-psychological theories about in-group preference and value threats, we theorize that workgroup gender composition conditions the relationship between supervisor gender and gender earnings differentials with them. Results from regression models with workgroup fixed effects confirm this insight. Female supervisors are associated with smaller gender earnings gaps when workgroups are male-dominated, but gender wage gaps widen under female supervision as teams become more female-dominated.


Young-Mi Kim is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Her main area of research is gender inequality in the labor market, organization, and family. Her work has been focused on revealing the unique characteristics of gender inequality in Korea and East Asia in the context of labor market segmentation. Recently, her interest moved to the organization side and she investigates organizational mechanisms of gender inequality in various dimensions using personnel data. She is also a PI of a research project funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRFK) to investigate how social inequality and demographic changes are linked through family dynamics.