Although the percentage of women in Japan’s workforce has increased substantially over the last 30 years, gender inequality in terms of income and position has persisted. A major problem is the lack of consciousness around gender inequality in society. Our study aims to explore the factors, particularly the Japanese style of management and cultural norms, that prevent workers in the public and private sectors from recognizing gender inequality. The Working Life Survey data collected from 1999 to 2011 were used for empirical analysis. The research finds that while there are no significant differences in the perceptions of gender inequality between public workers and their private counterparts, the factors influencing their consciousness of gender inequality do differ. The article also discusses the implications of our findings for efforts to promote gender equality throughout the Japanese workforce. Points for practitioners: Gender equality in the Japanese workplace is considerably low in a global context. Despite substantial gender gaps, the Working Life Survey of 1999–2011 reveals that 32.4% of 9231 workers answered that different treatment based on gender in Japanese workplaces is “fair” or “almost fair.” Examining these data, the study finds that there are no significant differences in the consciousness of gender inequality between public workers and their private counterparts. In addition, while distinctive Japanese management practices are influential on private workers’ consciousness of gender inequality, they do not affect that of public workers.
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