I have seen the term サラリーマン for men. What is a female who works for a salary, regardless of occupation, called? Is サラリーウーマン appropriate?

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    Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/6137/… – Leebo Aug 17 '19 at 13:32
  • my question is specific to the female equivalent term for salaryman regardless of occupation. The salaryman term is not addressed in that question or answer. – TutorJack-YouTube Aug 17 '19 at 13:37
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    Right, and that question discusses the options. Keep in mind that a サラリーマン in Japanese is not a word for "a man who earns a salary regardless of occupation." Many occupations that are salary-based would not be included in サラリーマン. – Leebo Aug 17 '19 at 13:43
  • My question is specific to salaried female employees – TutorJack-YouTube Aug 17 '19 at 13:51

We don't use サラリーウーマン. OL (pronounced オーエル) is a catch-all, wasei-eigo term for female office workers. Don't try to "spell it out" as オフィスレディー, which is usually not understood.

However, some people believe it mainly refers to low-ranking workers who does clerical work, and even English Wikipedia article for this is written with such a prejudiced view:

OL is a female office worker in Japan who performs generally pink collar tasks such as serving tea and secretarial or clerical work.

The Japanese version says it's essentially a neutral term. If you want to avoid misunderstanding, it's safest to just use 会社員 regardless of sex. サラリーマン is becoming a dated word, anyway.

EDIT: Note that both サラリーマン and OL mainly refer to office workers. Blue-collar workers are usually not called サラリーマン even if their income is salary-based.


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