Examines the employment status of women employees working for two Japanese department stores in Hong Kong. Empirical evidence reveals that Japanese expatriate managers bring sexist cultural values, which discriminate against women in the host‐country environment, because a majority of local female employees are employed in lower hierarchical positions at the bottom of the organizational and managerial pyramid, while male employees occupy most of the professional and managerial positions at the top. Discusses the situation in which female employees are likely to be discriminated against by senior management from the perspectives of horizontal and vertical job segregation. Identifies four major categories of constraints arising from the company’s human resource management (HRM) policies and practices leading to the subordinated employment position of women ‐ recruitment and selection, job assignment and promotion, training and development and remuneration. Posits that these HRM policies and practices are influenced by the Japanese preconception of women and the characteristics of the retail industry.