Gender, Social Role, and Social Capital: A Comparative Study of Volunteerism in East Asia

Lili Wang, Hyunrang Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This cross-national comparative study examines how social role and social capital are associated with gender differences in volunteering in four regions of East Asia–China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Using the 2012 East Asia Social Survey, we find that women in East Asia, particularly in South Korea, are less likely to volunteer than men. Additionally, women with children are less likely to volunteer than men with children, especially when their secular and religious group participations are not considered, which is consistent with the social role theory. Social capital indicators, including trust, neighborhood support, informal network, secular group participation, and religious group participation, significantly increase the likelihood of volunteering. More importantly, the results indicate that secular group participation moderates gender differences in volunteering. Women who participate in secular groups are more likely to volunteer than men in East Asia. The theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-860
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • East Asia
  • Gender
  • Social capital
  • Social role
  • Volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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