Managing Gender Diversity in Asia: A Research Companion

Article excerpt

Mustafa F. Ozbilgin & Jawad Syed, eds., MANAGING GENDER DIVERSITY IN ASIA: A RESEARCH COMPANION. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010. 296p. index. $165.00, ISBN 978-1847206442.

Gender diversity in contemporary Asia, according to editors Ozbilgin and Syed, has not been extensively researched and written about. Most studies of gender equality in the region, they say, have been "conducted in the realm of social policy or from a religio-political paradigm" (p. 1). This edited collection of reports, in contrast, attempts to distinguish itself from other scholarship by looking at issues of "heterogeneity of norms, beliefs and cultures, of gender equality" (p. 1) in the larger context of Asia--rather than primarily the Middle East--and from a management and organizational perspective.

Each of the fourteen chapters provides insight into a geographic area (e.g., Malaysia, the Arab Middle East, Pakistan, Japan) and gives specific examples of structural or organizational inequities that keep women from being empowered to develop financial stability through employment. Some reports address the larger legal infrastructure and its implications for gender equity in employment--for example, "Japanese Equal Employment Opportunity Law: Implications for Diversity Management in Japan"--while others look at the involvement of nongovernmental organizations in advancing women, as well as at the patriarchal, religious, and social implications of gender diversity in the larger employment infrastructure.

The editors have recruited scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America as authors of this work, providing excellent representation of global scholarship in the field. The research presented addresses the "intersectionality of gender, ethnicity, disability and other salient categories" (p. 2) that affect employment, thus offering a holistic understanding of the inequities facing many women in Asian societies. This focus on intersectionaliry also allows room for assessing the scholarship from the standpoint of a variety of social science methodologies. …