China recruits professional firefighters for the first time. 99.9% of them are required to be men | Society News | SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

China recruits professional firefighters for the first time. 99.9% of them are required to be men

Part of the daily SupChina newsletter. Subscribe for free

On January 25, China launched its first public recruitment campaign to employ professional firefighters. According to an announcement (in Chinese) released by the Ministry of Emergency Management, it plans to hire 18,655 people to join the country’s firefighting force — but only 20 positions were allotted for women.

The campaign came after China reformed its recruitment system for firefighters in March 2018. Previously, Chinese firefighters were part of the country’s military force and were hired under the Military Service Law. The new system allows average citizens or ex-servicemen to apply for positions as firefighters. Once employed, they need to complete month-long trainings before officially becoming a firefighter.

The recruitment plan states that 31 provinces and cities across the country will hire 18,655 fire fighters. Among them, 11,800 will join the rescue department and the rest will be forest firefighters. It’s also noted that the fire service only plans to employ 20 women, who account for about 0.1 percent of the total force and will all be located in Beijing.

In addition, prior to trainings, applicants are required to pass a series of exams including physical ability tests and political vetting. For female applicants, the fitness test consists of tasks like sit-ups and an 800 meter run.

The profession of firefighting is traditionally a male stronghold. While China has never released official numbers on female firefighters in the service, it’s presumably low given that like many other countries, firefighting in China is widely perceived as a profession that is too physically demanding for women. In addition, gender-based discrimination in employment is rampant across all sorts of industries in China. For example, a 2018 report by Human Rights Watch revealed that one in five civil service job adverts in the country are explicitly for “men only,” and that many of China’s largest tech companies published overtly sexist advertisements or had other major hiring discrimination issues.

Share
Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.