A comparative analysis of equal employment opportunities law and policy in Japan and New Zealand : a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in East Asian Studies at Massey University
This thesis is a comparative analysis of Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) law and policy in Japan and New Zealand. This study was undertaken due to the fact that Japan has had an EEO law since 1986, and New Zealand first gave EEO legislative intent in the 1988 State Sector Act. and even though these laws and policies were enacted, women's position in the workplace has only changed marginally. Thus, my thesis offers extensive sign posting, starting with an analysis of theoretical perspectives of EEO. In Japan and New Zealand it has been noted that patterns and conditions of work in both the preindustrial and industrial economies have become differentiated by gender, The many reasons for this are and include, ideological, political, economic and social, or more accurately, a complex interaction of all of these factors. The nature of societies and government's attitudes to EEO in both Japan and New Zealand has been poor, as has been indicated by the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Unfortunately, not enough is known in both Japan and New Zealand about EEO, for both countries to implement effective EEO laws and policies. I propose that the long-term outcome for EEO is the elimination of all forms of unfair discrimination in employment. I propose that this will be achieved when three conditions prevail in organisations. Firstly, inclusive, respectful and responsive organisational cultures which enable access to work, equitable career opportunities, and maximum participation for members of designated groups and all employees. Secondly, procedural fairness as a feature of all human resource strategies, systems and practices, and thirdly, employment of EEO groups at all levels in the workplace. I argue that to have operational equality in employment, it is necessary to have legislation for violators of EEO, to implement solid, strategic initiatives to EEO and give both the private sector and public sector education in how to deliver effective EEO programmes and policies. I also suggest that as both Japan and New Zealand have ratified CEDAW, they should both be looking at implementing an Optional Protocol, which will give international backing to EEO initiatives and which has been proposed to provide better enforcement of women's human rights. The Optional Protocol would give women the right to complain to a specialist United Nations (UN) Committee (CEDAW) about violations of CEDAW by their governments. By implementing the Optional Protocol it would enable the UN Committee to conduct inquiries into serious or systematic abuses of women's rights in countries. The Optional Protocol raises many issues about the cultural context of inequalities and the way specific national histories are used to authorise certain workplace issues.