There is little evidence to suggest that parents pay attention to their child’s gender when funding their education. Over the last few decades, the prevalence of single-child households in China has made parents less likely to favor boys over girls when it comes to their children’s studies. Indeed, the majority of Chinese students in the U.K. are enrolled in postgraduate courses, a trend that signals their parents’ willingness to invest in higher education. But does parents’ readiness to send their daughters abroad also herald growing domestic support for gender equality?
Government censors, apparently fearing social unrest, are trying to hobble the campaign, blocking the use of phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” on social media and deleting online petitions calling for greater protections for women. And officials have warned some activists against speaking out, suggesting that they may be seen as traitors colluding with foreigners if they persist.
Millions of women and men around the world have taken part in the #MeToo movement, sharing their experiences of sexual harassment in an attempt to show the magnitude of the problem. But the digital campaign has not been as prominent on Chinese social media until now - and even then, there haven't been as many other people stepping forward to share their experiences.
In the U.S., many women see workplace discrimination as a major issue blocking them from promotions. Silicon Valley has been roiled by revelations of mistreatment of women at companies such as Uber and smaller startups, and of predatory behavior by tech investors. All of that might make a figure from America’s tech industry seem problematic as a hero for Chinese working women. Yet women in China say they face more prosaic hurdles, such as fulfilling family obligations. That can be challenging: 46 percent of women surveyed in China equate success with getting married or having a family, according to Lean In China. The survey also found that while the majority of women in China believe that child care should be shared equally by both parents — a position Sandberg took in her book — 63 percent of married women say they do more than their husbands, which they say takes away time they could be spending on their careers.
The fact that Chinese women are becoming more powerful economically has not yet led to gender equality. According to this year's World Economic Forum "Global Gender Gap Report," China ranks 100 out of 144 countries — behind Senegal and Cambodia. Many Chinese families still prefer male offspring and women earn on average 35 percent less than men. They are less frequently promoted and often have fewer chances of being employed at all after an interview if they are of childbearing age — even more so since the country's one-child policy was abolished in 2015.
In viral video that surfaced on China's internet, an instructor in the class in the northeastern province of Liaoning tells students that "women should talk less, do more housework and shut their mouths". The teacher also said that "women should not strive to move upwards in society, but should always remain at the bottom level". "If you order food delivery instead of cooking by yourself, you are disobeying rules for women," another instructor said.
The last few years have been remarkable for Chinese businesswomen, so much so that China is now the de facto capital of the self-made female billionaires’ club. Even so, 2017 has been an especially significant year as nine female entrepreneurs made their debuts in Forbes self-made women billionaires list ranking China far ahead of the second-placed U.S., which listed only five women this year. Chinese women fare better in a gender context as well. Today, almost 6% of Chinese billionaires are self-made women, topping all other parts of the world where they number just under 2%, according to Forbes Billionaires List 2017.
"It can happen," Murphy insists. "It totally can happen. Think about it: No one thought it could happen (when the United States men won gold) in 1980, no one ever would have thought. If there's a hot goalie and there's a magical moment and all the stars and moon align, of course it can happen. "If you think it can't happen it won't. But if you think it can happen, there's a possibility and potential and it will."
In Hong Kong, women who are 30 and unmarried are often referred to as sing nui in Cantonese, which means “leftover women”. But this derogatory label is not equally applied to single men. Men who have a successful career and choose to remain single are revered as jun sek wong lo ng, or “diamond bachelors”, regardless of their age. But for career women who voluntarily choose a single lifestyle because they don’t want to lower their standards to find a partner, their image is a far less positive one. They are labelled undesirable or discarded, and hence given the “leftover” label. This discriminatory attitude is ubiquitous – from the workplace to social circles.