The New York Times just published a very interesting article on the situation of women in China, betitled “In China’s Modern Economy, a Retro Push Against Women”.
It states an actual development that Chinese women face in business life.
“Fresh out of college, Angela Li was proud of her job as a teller at the state-owned China Everbright Bank — maybe it wasn’t exciting, but it had prospects. After a year and a half she applied for a promotion, along with a male colleague who had joined with her.
He got it. She did not.
“Our boss came to talk to me afterwards,” said Ms. Li, a 25-year-old with scraped-back hair and a quiet gaze. “He said, ‘It’s good that you girls take your work seriously. But you should be focusing on finding a boyfriend, getting married, having a kid.’ ”
Ms. Li quit.
“I could compete in terms of ability, but not in terms of gender,” she said.”
Now China is very often compared to India. Both are uprising nations, both have more than 1 billion people, both are facing similar issues entering an even more industrialised world, connecting in a more and more globalised world, bringing masses out of poverty into a middle class segment that did not exist to such an extent a few decades ago.
Ms. Li can also be called Anjali Singh(*). Anjali grew up in the suburbs of Mumbai with her parents and 2 older brothers. Her grades in high school were better then the ones of her brother’s, but she was a girl. Still, she enrolled in a famous technical institute in Mumbai, finished strongly her Masters in Engineering and now is applying for jobs.
When we reached out to her she told us: “People do have a problem with me being a girl. They tell me that they appreciate my interest but keep pushing the fact, that it is a men’s world and why I do not just focus on doing what nature foresaw me to do – get children and take care of my husband when he gets home from work”.
While Anjali definitely wants to have a family she is outraged by such answers. “Why”, she wonders, “can we not work AND have a family? Why do we need to be discriminated? I am smart enough to take on many many people. I love my brothers to death, still my grades were better – but I cannot work in the same business as them? It does not make sense”.
Angela Li and Anjali Singh face similar problems, in China and in India, but also in the rest of the world. Obviously there are women at the top of it. companies, political organisations, governments etc. But, they are rare. The majority unfortunately faces situations like Angela, like Anjali. The good news though is: there is a lot of room for improvement.
(*) name has been changed