Why We Have to Advocate for Gender Equality in China

 by
Advocacy , Global Goals

By Yunmei Li, In-Country Consultant China

Women in the Workplace

According to Zhilian Investigation Report on the Present Situation of Chinese Women’s Workplace in 2017, Chinese female workers earn 22% less than their male counterparts, 11.5% of women lose promotion opportunities during the marriage and child-bearing period, and 81% women have experienced, or are experiencing gender bias in the workplace.

According to LeanIn China’s report, Women, Work, and Happiness: Impact of Women in the Workplace in a Digital Age, only 27.66% of women thought there were equal opportunities between men and women, compared to 56.50% of men who thought so.

In hard reaching places like the countryside and minority groups, girls at a younger age are suffering from son preference, meaning their parents wish they were boys, child marriage, teen pregnancy, lack of self-confidence, and many more challenges. According to data from UN Women China office, every 7.3 seconds, there is a woman abused at home, usually by her husband. 1 in every 3 women has experienced domestic violence, even though China has issued and enacted a law against domestic violence in 2016.

What Needs to Change?

But I personally think the most widespread challenge for girls in China is the unbalanced education based on traditional gender roles, which means girls don’t believe in themselves. Without that self-confidence, girls are confined to the world they are surrounded by and think that’s the only way girls can be – even with opportunities to change.

I’ve seen girls wearing pink dresses not because they want to, but because everyone else does. I’ve seen talented girls give up STEM just because there are not many girls in the field. There are too many girls being called ‘leftovers’, living in anxiety because her friends are all married or have children. There are too many moms struggling to keep up with their career while feeling guilty for not resigning from work as others do. There are too many ‘how others are living their lives’ affecting how girls really think. That is unfair, unbalanced, and unsustainable.

Maria Guimaraes, the Asia Pacific Regional Strategic Cooperation Expert of UN Women said women leadership is not a nice thing to have, but the only fundamental and sustainable way to drive the world change.

We need to create a girl-friendly and gender equal world for Chinese girls to be educated correctly – helping them find their inner strength to believe in themselves so they can lead their own lives and drive future social change.

为什么要在中国关倡导性别平等?

根据智联招聘发布的《2018中国女性职场现状调查报告》,中国女性整体收入低于男性22%,11.5%的女性因处在婚育阶段失去晋升机会,更有81%的女性曾在职场感受到性别偏见。

根据励媖中国发布的《女性、职业与幸福感:数字时代女性职场影响力》,当受访者被问到是否认为男女职场发展机会平等时,56.50%的男性表示肯定,而只有27.66%女性持此态度。

在如农村、少数民族等偏远地区,女孩仍在经受重男轻女的传统观念、童婚、青春期怀孕、和缺乏内在力量等各种挑战。根据联合国妇女署中国办公室等数据,每7.3秒就有一位女性遭受了虐待和暴力,每三个女性中,就有一个人经历过家庭暴力,即使中国已经在2016年颁布并实施了反家暴法。

我自认为在中国目前最普遍的挑战是基于传统性别角色设定的不平衡的教育问题,这导致了女孩缺乏内在力量,即使在机会去改变命运面前,她们仍囹圄在她们身边人所创造出的那方小小世界里,以为这就是女孩天生的命运。

我见过女孩穿粉红色的裙子不是因为自己想穿,而是因为身边的其他女孩都这么穿。我见过很有天赋的女孩放弃进入科技工程领域仅仅因为那里的女性太少了。有太多女孩被称为“剩女”,因为周遭的朋友都结婚或为人母了而活在焦虑里,更有太多的母亲因为想要继续工作,不像其他人一样辞职回家而感到内疚和自责。这是不公平的,不平衡的,更是不可持续发展的。

联合国妇女署亚太区域办公室战略合作专家Maria Guimaraes说,我们支持女性发展,不仅是因为这是正确的事情,而是因为如果我们想推动世界可持续发展,这是唯一的方法。

我们需要创造一个对女孩友好,性别平等的世界让女孩能够接受正确的教育,获得足够的内在力量去主宰自己的生活,并为让中国的女孩们世界改变做出贡献。