Women Pushed Aside as China Modernizes, Gender Inequality in the Eastern World

From the New York Times that came with the papers today, written by: D. K. Tatlow and M. Forsythe…

Beijing—Fresh out of college, Angela Li was proud of her job as a teller at the state-owned China Everbright Bank—it wasn’t exciting, but it has prospects.  After a year and a half she applied for a promotion, along with a male colleague who had joined with her.

“Our boss came to talk to me afterwards,” said Ms. Li, 25.  “He said, ‘It’s good that you girls take your work seriously.  But you should be focusing on finding a boyfriend, getting married, having a kid.”

Women made great strides in the early decades of Communist rule.  The government has taken pains to portray women as equal to men, starting with Chairman Mao’s declaration that women “hold up half the sky.”  But the shift to a market economy and the resulting boom that has created opportunities for women has also fostered a resurgence of traditional values.  More and more men and women say a woman’s place is in the home. “Women’s status has not improved, and in some areas has regressed,” said Feng Yuan, a prominent Chinese feminist.

Women make up 44.7 percent of the work force, but just 25.1 percent of people with position of “responsibility,” according to China’s 2010 census.  Fewer than one in ten board members of China’s top 300 companies are women.  That measure is based on review of boards of every company in the CSI 300 index, China’s equivalent to the American Standard and Poor’s 500.  Among the CSI 300 companies, 126 have no women on their boards.

“We call it the ‘sticky floor,’” Ms. Feng said.  “There is a glass ceiling here too, but most women never even get off the sticky floor.”

By comparison, women hold 19.2 percent of the directorship on the S&P 500 companies, and about eighteen percent of board members in Europe’s 610 biggest companies are women.  While the advantage of having women in the boardroom are accepted global business circles, in China, the idea meets with incomprehension, even boredom, among business leaders.

Dongfang Electric, one of the world’s biggest makers of electric power turbines, has no women on its nine-member board.  “We’ve never thought about it,” said Zhang Linchao, the director of the company’s general offices.  Asked if the company would answer questions on the subject, he declined, saying, “It’s irrelevant.”

The pattern is pronounced at state-owned companies, where the government could simply order higher female participation.  Of the thirty-one companies on the CSI 300 that have no women as senior executives, 30 are majority state-owned.

The Communist Party’s women’s organization, the All-China Women’s Federation, is charged with representing women and protecting their rights.  In reality, it focuses on maintaining party control and traditional values.  Until recently, it posted editorials on its website belittling women who delay marriage.  It is also one of the key party organs carrying out the country’s family planning policy, enforcement of which has led to forced abortions.

Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree Electric, an air conditioner manufacturer with sales of $22.5 billion last year, blames women for their poor showing.  “Women don’t try hard enough,” she said.  “They’re too happy to go off and find a man to rely on.”

In some cases, the law supports discrimination.  Legally, women must retire earlier than men—generally age 60 for men and 50 or 55 for women—ass they are expected to care for the young, the sick, and the old.

Some companies not listed on the CSI 300, including the Internet giants Baidu and Alibaba, do have more women in the top positions.  Those women often find themselves on a lonely frontier.

And, this just shows, that although, we women ARE slowly, gaining our status in the world, however, because there’s still SEXISM, gender discrimination still working ITS “magic”, it’s gonna take a VERY long time, until we get the same pay rates as you losers, and, need I remind you, WHO has the ability to carry the young again?  Oh yeah, it’s US, you M***ER F***ERS, so, START respecting us, and besides, I KNOW that women ARE more capable than ALL you LOSERS combined here!!!

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Filed under Cost of Living, Gender Inequality, In the Workplace, Issues of the Society, Issues on Gender, Observations, Occupational Outlook

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