AUTHOR
EDITORIAL
TEAM
Aug
3
2019
AUTHOR
EDITORIAL
TEAM
Aug
3
2019
Insights

Superpower China's Economic Gains Seem to Favor Solely Men

Superpower China's Economic Gains Seem to Favor Solely Men

If you're a married woman without children in China and just got offered a job, don't be surprised if you're also presented with a contract which prevents you from getting pregnant in the first two years, or else get ready to be laid off without compensation. Also, Chinese employers consider it perfectly acceptable to ask a woman when she will marry and have children as part of a job interview.

Chinese employers want to cut costs and hence, they hire men

Although such agreements in the country are highly illegal, they are also quite common as discriminations against women are simply on the rise and though China has loosened the one-child policy, women are facing another wrong turn. Thanks to a growing aging population, the government want to now encourage a baby boom, however, this is not doing any favors for professional women because there are being forced to stay at home, instead of being able to become mothers and professionals. Wang Zheng, professor of women’s studies and history at the University of Michigan said, "When the state policymakers needed women’s hands, they sent them to do labor. Now they want to push women into marriage and have a bunch of babies." Chinese employers also want to cut costs wherever possible and therefore, they prefer hiring and promoting men instead of women, because of maternity leave and if women do have children while employed there are penalized for it.

China is now falling behind when it comes to women's right

Furthermore, the rise in divorce rates has left women poorer if they have children because few will hire them and they have also been left out of the real-estate boom. Gender is not becoming an important factor in China because it just fell from 57th in 2008 to 103rd in 2018  in the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index. Feng Yuan, a feminist scholar in Beijing, said, "When it came to promoting women’s rights, China used to be in the lead. But now we are falling behind." It's not uncommon for Chinese companies to fire women if they become pregnant on the job and even if they do complain, they will suffer, hence, women are losing either way. Also, many job advertisements openly specify that it's only for men or that men are preferred, and even government agencies specify these despite the practice being outright illegal. A 2017 survey revealed that 54 percent of women had been asked about marriage and children at job interviews. The truth is that Chinese women have very few options when it comes to bucking a male-centric society and some of the ways they are pushing back are by refusing to get married and choosing not to have children. 

Image credit: Shutterstock

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