Chinese women lead men in personal investment and other lessons from International Women’s Day 2021

Society & Culture

Chinese media and companies have marked International Women’s Day in a variety of ways, from a report that shows the country’s women are more responsible investors than men to a survey that reveals warning signs for women on first dates.

chinese women
Tingshu Wang / Reuters

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, which is devoted to “celebrating the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future.” The global theme for this year’s celebration, selected by the United Nations, is “Choose to Challenge,” and is intended to encourage women worldwide to call out gender bias and fight for an equitable world.

The female-empowering agenda promoted by International Women’s Day is especially relevant in China, where, despite growing awareness of women’s rights and gender equality, the status of women is still often in peril because of a deep-rooted patriarchal culture, systematic oppression, and societal pushback against the country’s nascent feminist movements. 

In honor of this special occasion, we have compiled some stories and reports concerning Chinese women that came out today and we think are worth highlighting.

A survey says inappropriate physical contact is the biggest deal-breaker for single women in major cities

To mark International Women’s Day, Tantan, a popular Tinder-like dating app in China, asked its female users in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai about their thoughts on finding love online and their dating pet peeves.

The survey (in Chinese) finds that about 60% of the respondents use Tantan primarily because they see online dating as a good opportunity to “meet new people and potential matches” outside of their normal social circles. When asked about the types of male behaviors that raise red flags for them on a first date, roughly 63% of those surveyed mentioned being touched in an uncomfortable way or hearing their dates making demeaning remarks about women. Other major warning signs cited in the survey include men being rude to service workers, making excessive judgments about women’s looks and outfits, and having narcissistic qualities. 

Chinese women surge ahead of men in financial planning and investing

Although the gender pay gap is still a very real problem in China — in 2019, the average wage for Chinese urban men was 22.5% higher than women’s — an unprecedented amount of assets has shifted into the hands of Chinese women in the past decade: Single female homeownership has boomed and the number of self-made Chinese female billionaires has increased almost year by year.

With their improved economic status, Chinese women also seem to have developed a strong interest in growing their money through financial planning and investments. According to a report (in Chinese) released on March 8 by Lufax, one of the largest fintech companies in China, about 54% of its active users were women in 2020 and they outnumbered their male counterparts on many fronts, including the amount of assets they held and the frequency of their investments.

Similarly, Tianhong Asset Management, China’s largest mutual-fund company by assets under management, disclosed in a report (in Chinese) that its female clients on average had over 23,000 yuan ($3,524) in investments, almost double that of male customers. When it comes to their investing style, Chinese women tend to be more risk aware than men and prefer long-term investments over short-term ones. 

More and more companies are joining the celebration — mostly in the form of social media campaigns 

The co-option of progressive ideas by big corporations for “cool points” is nothing new. And this year, a host of companies have leaned into International Women’s Day — and leveraged it to communicate their commitment to women’s empowerment to their Chinese consumers.

For example, Perfect Diary, a fast-growing Chinese cosmetics brand, released a video that featured several successful women in different walks of life, such as Huì Ruòqí 惠若琪, a former captain of China’s national women’s volleyball team, and the standup comedian Yáng Lì 杨笠, who rose to fame last year for her thought-provoking, patriarchy-challenging jokes. In the video, they share their thoughts on how to be an independent woman in the modern world, and the struggles they face when challenging social norms as a woman.

Ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, which has been trying to improve safety measures after two high-profile murders of female passengers in 2018, made a post on Weibo highlighting its female drivers and showing its appreciation for them. It also produced a video featuring testimonials by women drivers, who discussed negative stereotypes associated with them and thanked Didi for giving them a job opportunity.