The work, family and care nexus in Paris and Tokyo: Gender equality and well-being among urban professionals

Glenda S. Roberts*, Hiroko Costantini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Based on 51 qualitative interviews of middle- to upper-middle-class women and men in their thirties through early fifties in Paris and Tokyo from 2018 to 2020, this qualitative research seeks to develop a comparative understanding of how women and men reconcile the diverse commitments of work and family in two post-industrial societies by querying such topics as the contexts for dual-career households, the meanings of work for women and men, workplace challenges, and gender and the division of household labor. Recent shifts in gender roles, female workforce participation, and more varied living patterns and couple relationships are increasingly placing pressure on younger and middle-aged couples with children. Our findings suggest that despite historical and cultural differences in the nexus of work and family, not to mention diverging levels of government support for dual-worker families, there are interesting commonalities in the ways in which couples reconcile work and family. In particular, in both Japan and France, naturalizing women as the main care givers is a fundamental aspect of how work and family balance is maintained. Despite the presence of many supportive institutional frameworks for flexible work, childcare support, and gender equity, both the French and the Japanese pursue subjective well-being through gendered notions of care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Japan
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • gender equality. Japan; France. family; well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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