To celebrate International Women’s Day, Zhaopin, China’s largest employment platform, released their “2017 Report on Chinese Women in the Workplace,” exploring how women face harsh gender discrimination in employment opportunities and career development.
The release event was hash-tagged “她世界，她力量” (or “Her world, her power” in English) highlighting some women entrepreneurs in China such as Ma Weiwei, Liu Nan, and Gan Wei. Each participant shared their stories of gender discrimination and difficulties they faced during their time climbing up the ladder.
Evan Guo, the CEO of Zhaopin Limited, said, “Chinese women face relatively less discrimination in workplaces in terms of income-gap and job opportunities. In fact, in the past few years, women’s income raised faster than that of men. However, over 20% of the women feel gender discrimination in the workplace that eventually affects their productivity and happiness. And that is what we are trying to fix.”
According to the stories and the survey, women still felt the glass ceiling in terms of work environment.
Some highlights from the survey:
- About 22% of women experienced severe or very severe discrimination when seeking employment, compared with 14% of men.
- Better educated women were more likely to be discriminated against when they applied for jobs.
- It takes longer time for women to get promoted.
- As to barriers to promotions, women were more likely to attribute the lack of promotion to lack of competence or experience.
- Leadership positions are still dominated by men.
Discrimination experienced by women when they sought employment varied with age, marital status, and educational background. Women aged 25 to 34 felt the most discrimination.
Surprisingly, however, the more educated women tend to face more discrimination than the less educated ones. Roughly 43% of women with graduate degrees felt severe or very severe discrimination, compared to only 18% of men with the same level of education.
According to the survey, women also tend to be more conservative in seeking job opportunities. Women were more likely to only apply for positions for which they strongly matched the job requirements, while men were more willing to apply even if they didn’t match certain job requirements.
In terms of promotion, women were less confident in their career development and tended to expect a longer time required for their next promotion. Women believed that their biggest challenges in the workplace were unclear career path and lack of professional guidance, while men saw career transition as their biggest challenge. Only 59% of women had clear expectations for their next promotion compared to 65% in men. Women also attributed the lack of promotion to personal reasons, while men tended to blame external factors, such as not being appreciated by their supervisors, or losing a chance by transferring to a new position.
Moreover, for women in different positions, the higher level the positions they had, the less discrimination they experienced in promotions. The lack of female in higher leadership positions was also pointed out, as about 72% of participants had men as their supervisors, and only 28% had women as their supervisors.
Some top characteristics of successful women were influencing others with positive values, loving themselves and caring about others, having their own attitude in lives, and respectful personality and charisma.