Labor market, China: women unwanted!

More and more Chinese women are complaining about the fact that they are openly discriminated while the search for employment – no matter how qualified they are. Many Chinese state enterprises and Ministries adjust almost only men in this autumn. Despite a study and good marks, the women are realizing that they don’t have any prospects for a good job.

Particularly the Ministries and party organizations are bad examples. China’s State Department adjusts almost no women in this year. Neither the office for foreign relations of the communist party of China (CPCH) wants to accept application briefcases of women, neither the public security, otherwise liked because of their good wages. A student, who wanted to apply at the office of CPCH, was particularly rude rejected: “You are much too small! We adjust only women over 1,65Meter.”

It’s a trend, which is being observed in China for years, and which seems to strengthen now by the economic crisis: If women are desired at all in big Chinese enterprises or Ministries, then for bad-paid, simple activities.

Since any discrimination in the office is forbidden by law, sex specific restrictions in published employment offers disappeared some years ago. Now it’s usual to clarify the situation with unambiguous allusions in the job interview, like “It’s better to save the paper instead of using it for the application briefcase.”

Many of his most intelligent female students couldn’t find a work after their studies, complained Rao Zihe, the president of the Nankai university, in an interview with Beijings Ribao. “Sex discrimination is very serious, and this even about the employment of officials.” said the university president. According to an inquiry of the Chinese woman federation from September, 90 per cent of all female students in Peking, Shanghai, Tianjin and Xian feel discriminated in the job market. The unofficial reasons for the refusal of women are, that they get pregnant and spend more time with the children and they’re not as suitable for international missions then men.

Equal chances for women belonged actually to the proudest achievements of Chinese communism under Mao Zedong. Today many women in China are employed and more and more work also in good-paid, modern jobs. But at the same time in the last few years a clear trend was developing back to more sexism and discrimination. The fact that women are seen anyhow just exceptional in leading positions and earn less for the same work than men are achieving, is anyway just as true in China as in most other countries of the earth, too.

Among young women a sarcastic saying popped up: “Better well married than well worked.” Some unemployed women are reconciling to their fate. They stick insinuating pictures into their applications or write into the personal record that they “go gladly drinking in the evening”. Another woman applied recently for an office job with the reference that she made the second place in the beauty competition “Miss Tianjin”.


7 thoughts on “Labor market, China: women unwanted!

  1. After reading this comment, i could say that since years and years the chinese culture is for men first. I mean, they give priority for men to work, because for chinese people, women have to be at home for their husband and deal with the house and children. Now in our time, women want to be equal with men, but there’s still this mentality whose stays in chinese minds, so for me, it’s totally unacceptable, but we can’t change a culture in a few years, it is going to take a long time.

    • I agree with you. Because this is not a problem that just came up yesterday. This goes for years and it is well known that the Chinees culture clearly prefers men more then women. Because the women have to be at home to take care of the household and the children. The culture plays a major role in making this problem complicated. Because you can’t change a cultural aspect within two or five years years. This will take alot of time. I hope they can and will solve this problem, because this is discrimination. Women should be able to have good and well paid jobs.

  2. It is a big tragedy that women have no chances to get a good job in China and when they get one then only bad paid and for simple activities. I’m sure that in China existing very qualified women for particular jobs, but unfortunately China is different. This means, you even can’t ask the Ministries for help, because they are acting in the same way. Furthermore it is no excuse to say that women get pregnant and spend more time with the children and that they are not suitable for international missions, because in other countries, i.e. Austria there is no problem. So why in China? Unfortunately that is a trend that is already stretching many years and I think it will be strengthen the next years.

  3. Over the past decade, the People’s Republic of China has attempted to correct its history of human rights violations in the wake of increasing economic and social reform.These new laws and policies have had mixed results, especially in the area of combating discrimination against women in the workplace. Such gender discrimination has taken the form of preferences in hiring men, excessive fines based on alleged violations of family planning regulations, unfair dismissals, periodic employment plans, earlier retirement ages for women, wage discrepancies, and outright sexual harassment.

    Although gender discrimination is present in employment worldwide, certain Chinese practices go beyond discrimination to the point of being violations of human rights.
    This is particularly true in the case of outright prohibitions on a woman’s opportunity to work at all and employer sanctions based on infringements of family planning regulations.

  4. Of course you cannot erase thousands years of historical habits in just a couple reforms, obviously. Habits and beliefs are deeply implemented China’s culture, more than anywhere else.

    But let’s hope that latest China’s opening to capitalism will help the good trend to expand. Besides, this gender discrimination begins at the very beginning in women’s lives: they sometimes don’t even have access to education. China’s population living in the countryside don’t even have school for everyone. And historical habits want that the few places available go to young boys able to go at work sooner and earn money for the family earlier.

    Let’s just hope that China’s opening to the world economy and its super strong expansion will lead China’s companies to hire more women, even if it’s more by business needs than by fair employment purpose…

  5. I have just made a project on Maltese labour market, and i have to add that the similar issue is there. Unfortunately this situation is very complicated and not only because of the perivously mentioned historical events and traditions, but also because of the impossibility to link parenting with full time job. This is hard stuation because nowadays women are forced to work due to equality which is not always the reality! So it’s actually two sided situation!

  6. For being such an advanced country, China is behind in terms of gender. Its disgraceful that women have to lower themselves to using their looks instead of their skills in order to try and get a job. Women should be treated equally and feel as though that they can do more than just be someone’s wife or work in low standard jobs.


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