In the new Politburo, only one of its 25 members is a woman -- Sun Chunlan, head of the party body charged with outreach to non-Communists. It is her second term and she is likely to retire in five years. On the previous Politburo, there were two women, Sun and Vice Premier Liu Yandong - who is past retirement age and has stepped down from the Politburo. One rung down, just 4.9 percent of the new Central Committee, a mere 10 of the body’s 204 members, are women. That number was unchanged from the outgoing Central Committee, which presided for five years, but lower than in 2007-2012 when there were 13.
"The long-standing perception that women's place belongs at home and in the kitchen mean they are not meant to be ambitious," explains Professor Lynette H. Ong, Professor of Political Science at University of Toronto. "Their societal role is to be caregivers to the husbands, children and grandchildren. "Even though Mao once famously said, 'Women hold up half the sky', women still have a long way to go in their fights for equal representation."
“Times have changed … today men and women are equal,” Mao Zedong pronounced more than half a century ago. “Whatever men comrades can accomplish, women comrades can too.” Unless, of course, you mean running the country. For not once since Mao’s communists took power in 1949 has a woman been appointed to China’s top political body, the politburo standing committee, let alone become the country’s top leader.