Women gaining on men in terms of work equality

2021-03-09 12:03:57

Women look for jobs at a careers fair organized by the Yunnan Provincial Women's Federation in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Monday, International Women's Day. [Photo by Yang Zheng/For China Daily] The overall disparity between Chinese men and women in terms of professional equality has continued to narrow, according to a report by online recruitment platform Zhaopin. The report showed that the salary gap between men and women has been shrinking for two years. However, despite a 5 percentage point year-on-year improvement, the average salary for working women is still 12 percent lower than for men. "The salary difference is mainly due to the positions that men and woman generally fill," said Zhaopin CEO Guo Sheng. "Generally, women take fewer management positions or those in skilled labor that offer relatively high wages. Women have taken more jobs in accounting, administration and human resources rather than well-paid jobs such as an engineer." Education has helped women win higher positions and increase their recognition at their workplaces, making them a force to be reckoned with in the overall job market. In a survey conducted during the first two months of this year, about 42 percent of female workers who participated said they had a bachelor's degree or higher, 6.7 percentage points higher than the male participants, the report said. According to a report by Boss Zhipin, another online recruitment agency, education has played an important role in narrowing the disparity between the genders. Figures cited by the report show that last year, a woman's average salary rose by 6.1 percent for every additional year she had studied. While well-educated women are striving to have better careers, female migrant workers and those working in less-demanding positions are also endeavoring to improve their livelihoods. Li Qiujie, a 37-year-old driver for ride-hailing platform Didi in Zhengzhou, Henan province, said that she now has not only an independent income but a fulfilling life. "I've never had a formal job before. I used to be a housewife in my village, taking care of my little daughter," she said. "I found that I was a bit disconnected from the outside world when my daughter started going to primary school two years ago." Li said that it was hard for her to find an administrative job because she lacked a college degree. "Becoming a Didi driver was the best choice for me because it offers a lot of flexible working time. I can drive my kid to school and pick her up without missing work," she said. "My husband thought women are born to be housewives, but he has changed his mind. Now that he is not the only breadwinner in the family, I feel true equality psychologically. I've never given up. We women are not inferior to men." Still, women are in an uphill battle against inequality as discrimination in the job market continues due to issues including marriage and children. The report by Zhaopin said that more than 55 percent of female workers surveyed were asked about their marriages and plans to have children during interviews, more than twice the rate for male participants. Only about 15 percent of women surveyed were optimistic about future promotions, 2.9 percentage points lower than the surveyed men, due to their concerns about their marriage. "My husband and I have no plans to have a child in the next three years," said Sui Xintong, 28, who works in the human resources department of a Beijing company. "My position can be easily replaced if I get pregnant."