Throughout Chinese history, the role and status of women in China have faced difficulties. During the Imperial age in China, women held a specific certain role in society. Women faced gender segregation and were held in the domestic space. The inequality was felt by women in many aspects of society, such as a low-level education, and not eating near men.
One of the most interesting customs from that time that related to female segregation is the custom of foot binding, from the 10th century to the early 20th century. This practice physically restricted the ability of a woman to move. The practice entailed taking fabric strips and tightening them around the leg at a young age – preventing the leg from growing – as it was considered a beauty ideal. Leg-bounded women seeking beauty often refused to remove the fabric straps from their legs. The custom was outlawed in 1912, however, only by the 1930s did change begin to occur.
In November 1989, almost 40 years ago, the last factory that made special shoes for women with tied legs was closed.
Since the Cultural Revolution in 1949, the idea of gender equality has been widespread in China. Chairman Mao Zedong’s famous statement “Women hold up half the sky” sought to say that women could and should uphold a larger part in the labor force to help the industry and expand its growth. Mao wanted to exploit women as able-bodied workers to support China’s economic needs. The socialist revolution made it possible for women to take a much larger role in society, including new work and social opportunities. Following the new policies, women’s status changed. Their status no longer depended on the men they were linked to and women became less economically dependent on men.
Nowadays gender equality is attractive for China and other Asia-pacific countries.
Therefore, China’s policy toward women has changed. Realizing that women are an economic resource to be developed and used, gender-related changes occurred in the labor market in Contemporary China.
In recent decades and especially with China’s openness to the world, it has given more opportunities to women. There are more resources for women to reach higher education institutions and there has been an increase in the number of women studying for bachelor degrees. In 2016, women accounted for 63.3% of the labor force in China (compared to only 7.5% in 1949). Women have registered success in sports, technology industries, and plenty more.
According to the Hurun Report – Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai are the top three preferred cities for the world’s richest self-made women. Forty-Nine Chinese women are on the global list of self-made billionaires, making up 63% of the worldwide total. Chinese women such as Yang Huiyan, Wu Yajun, and Chen Lihau have surpassed the seven billion dollar threshold and are continuing to grow their wealth today. With the progressive movement still growing in China it is clear that many more women will find disruptive and innovative ways to rise up to the top of the billionaires list.
Xinergy Global has always stood for gender equality, and currently has teams of female experts and managers operating in both China and the worldwide setting. The Xinergy team is committed to equality within the company and will continue to empower and uplift women as long as the company is operational.