China wants to bring machismo back to schools
Chinese education officials plan to “cultivate masculinity” in young men by introducing more gym classes and adding more male teachers in schools.  But it’s a move that could have devastating consequences for Chinese society, say experts. On Thursday, China’s Ministry of Education told schools and local governments they would be required to implement physical fitness classes in schools while introducing new teaching methods that make boys more masculine.  The aim was to improve schoolboys’ mental and physical health while the ministry conducted further research, the plan revealed. The government made the announcement after a top political advisor, Si Zefu, blamed mothers, grandmothers and f
Chinese women are redefining success and television is to thank
Chinese women are choosing money over marriage - and it’s all because of what’s on TV, according to a recently released study. The report released by research firm Bernstein found that as television dramas become more focused on wealth and materialism, so too have young Chinese women. Their idea of success has switched from “marrying well” to “being the architect of your own success.” In the last four decades, China has experienced an unprecedented rise in prosperity as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. “Chinese television series have evolved as a mirror of society, moving wealth and money to a center stage position,” the study found. According to the report, the number of femal
Enough victim blaming: ad pulled after women lead internet outrage
A Chinese company’s new video advertisement for women’s makeup remover wipes has been savagely panned by online critics, forcing the ad to be pulled and the company apologizing twice. Purcotton, owned by Winner Medical Co., released the video last week on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, showing a young girl scaring off a would-be attacker with her naked makeup-free face after using the cleansing wipes. The 26-second video ad was pulled after online users denounced it as “demonizing” female sexual assault victims. The offending ad showed a young woman walking down a street at night followed by a masked man. As the stalker gets closer, the woman pulls out a cleansing wipe to quickly re
Menstrual cycle leave may make it harder for women to find work
A Chinese province will obligate companies to provide women with menstrual sick leave days starting in March, 2021.  The announcement from the provincial government of Liaoning, a province in northeastern China, renewed worries that such “protective policies” will actually worsen gender discrimination in the workplace.  The rules stipulate that companies must provide their employees with one or two days of sick leave for women on their menstrual cycle, provided they have medical proof of experiencing severe period pains.   “My first reaction was that this would make it more difficult for women to find work,” said Wei Yiran, 26, a Guangdong-based volunteer teacher who educates young women in
‘Know my name’: New hit song lambasts culture of domestic violence in China
The women named “Little Juan” are victims of domestic violence, and they could be anyone, or at least that is the message behind a new song from mandopop star Sitar Tan Weiwei.  Titled “Xiaojuan” (Little Juan), the song excoriates the patriarchial system that often results in violence against women. Little Juan is a character, but the song’s lyrics include thinly-veiled references to real-life cases of domestic violence. The word “gas” in the lyrics refers to Lhamo, a Tibetan influencer who was burned alive by her ex-husband in September and died in the hospital. “Sewage” refers to a Hangzhou woman who was killed and dismembered by her husband. He flushed some of her body parts down the sewa
How nine Chinese female leaders beat 2020’s challenges
It has been a grim year for working women in China yet despite the challenges that the Covid crisis presented, many made enormous strides in their chosen field.  We take a look at 9 inspirational female leaders who made their mark not just on the mainland, but the world. Wuhan lockdown diarist Fang Fang In January this year, before the rest of the world was aware of Covid-19’s deadly force, celebrated Chinese writer Fang Fang began documenting her daily life from her home in Wuhan – and posting her entries online.  Her raw and honest entries put a human face to a city in chaos, and were soon being read by tens of millions of Chinese desperate to know the truth amid the propaganda.  In her 6
‘Like a movement’: Beijing exhibition aims to keep #MeToo alive in China
In a darkened room, pieces of paper with pencils stabbed through the middle tell the stories of sexual abuse and harassment. On the floor, speakers play a loop of monologues from victims. In another corner, a giant mosaic spells the English word “Resist.” These are installations at an exhibit named “Her Story – Eliminating Gender Violence 2020,” an exhibition launched by feminism activists in Beijing that ran between November 25 and December 1.  The display followed their #MeToo exhibit last year that was displayed in five locations across China, said one of the curators, who only wants to be referred to as Jing. China’s #MeToo movement started in 2018, when Luo Xixi, a Beihang University gr
China's working moms still being held back
Motherhood is still a barrier to Chinese women in the workplace, a survey has warned.  Researchers questioned more than 8,000 professional women, and found that almost half (48%) took at least a year off work after giving birth with one in five becoming stay-at-home moms for several years.  "I never thought one day I would become a full-time mom, but it actually happened," said one woman, who was looking to get back to work after spending three years at home.  A third of the mothers admitted that their priorities had changed after giving birth, but just under 40% said they had little choice but to stay at home because the fathers were too busy at work.  Chinese women are legally entitled to
Empowering Chinese women one monologue at a time
A new TV series in China has struck a chord with contemporary female audiences for its ability to critique women’s social issues with subtlety and precision.  The show, titled Hear Her, features 8 monologues, each headlined by a different famous actress, who delivers a commentary on subjects such as beauty standards, domestic violence and a family’s preference for sons, among other topics. In the first episode, released on November 17, actress Qi Xi acts as a woman with little confidence and spends more than two hours applying makeup every day. In the scene, Qi was preparing herself to go to a school reunion, to show off in front of classmates who used to bully her, only to find out that sh
China’s female comedians turning patriarchy into punchlines
When Chinese female stand-up comedian Yang Li asked on stage, “Why are men so mediocre but still so confident?” some people were amused, while others were hostile. “This is the funniest sentence of this year,” one person said on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. “If some men can share a bit of their confidence with me, I won’t feel inferior and anxious about my trivial shortcomings.” Chu Yin, a male law professor in Beijing, fired back: “A man doesn’t need to be special to be confident in front of you.” He continued: “A man may be average, but you are likely ugly without make-up.” It was not the first time Yang’s comments had caused a buzz online. With a style described as delivering the