In western societies, there was a remarkable increase in women’s economic participation in the second half of the 20th century. This phenomenon is strongly related to the expansion of clerical jobs that are considered safe and clean compared to blue-collar jobs. Because of the motivation boost induced by industrialization, strong correlation between educational attainment and economic participation of women has emerged in many economically developed societies.
However, this is not true for some East Asian countries such as Japan. Although Japan experienced rapid industrialization, no clear association has been found between women’s educational background and their labor force participation. This fact has been explained in relation to the so-called Japanese Employment System that compels married women to exit from the labor market.
In this study, we aim to reconsider the effects of educational attainment on women's working lives by considering vocational institutions called Senmon Gakko (Professional Training College), which were not considered in previous studies. Because a Senmon Gakko is known for its weak relationship with Japanese Employment System, this study also aims to provide us an understanding of the effects of vocational specificity under a specific institutional context.
To examine the effects of education on women’s economic participation in Japan, we utilize longitudinal data of Japanese Life Course Panel Survey (JLPS) conducted by Institute of Social Science, the University of Tokyo since 2007. Through applying panel analysis to JLPS data, we establish that Senmon Gakko has effects on women’s labor force participation, especially when reentering to the labor market.