Traditionally in Japan, a daughter's education has been primarily seen as a means of making her a more attractive marriage prospect. Until recently, higher education for Japanese women was never really considered an option, except for two-year colleges, which have been referred to frequently as 'bride training' schools. However, a change in Japan's demographics along with a shift to a more global job market has pushed Japanese society to take the educational and professional goals of Japanese women more seriously. More and more Japanese women are now entering four-year universities and a growing percentage are pursuing graduate level studies. Women who decide to pursue graduate level studies often go abroad to obtain their degrees due to the fact that graduate programs in Japan still remain limited and primarily male dominated. This study focused on Japanese women who have pursued graduate level studies at SIT (School for International Training) in Brattleboro, VT. Thirty-three women participated in the study by answering a questionnaire sent to them via the post. The purpose of the questionnaire was to ascertain whether or not these women had been able to reach the professional goals they had stated before entering their individual programs at SIT. I assumed that many of the women who began their studies at SIT ran into numerous culturally based obstacles along the way while trying to reach their goals. My findings showed that my assumptions were, on the whole, inaccurate. I over-generalized when I tried to compare these particular women with women in Japanese society given the nature and scope of an education at SIT. In fact, for the most part, the opposite was true. Most of the women in the study had very little trouble reaching and exceeding their professional goals. This study will be useful to help show perspective Japanese women who are intent on pursuing graduate level studies at SIT, that it is possible and very likely that they will be successful in their professional endeavors. It could also be used by the SIT admissions department as a tool for recruitment as well as a starting point for further research with other cultural groups at SIT.
O'Brien, Nancy, "Japanese women, graduate level studies, and professional goals" (2000). Capstone Collection. 495.