New surveys find Chinese women still struggle to achieve equality both at work and at home

Society & Culture

Two new surveys show that Chinese feminists still have a lot to fight for.

workplace sexual harrassment

A new survey from one of China’s largest job recruitment sites, Liepin.com, has made it clear that, while Chinese women have achieved notable strides in their fight for greater rights and against gender-based violence, there’s still a ways to go.

Although the majority of respondents to the survey (in Chinese) — both male and female — believed that opportunities for working women had improved significantly in the past five years, more than 80% of the female respondents said that they still felt discriminated against or unfairly treated due to their gender. Women complained of being paid less than their male counterparts, and being asked about their relationship status or family plans in job interviews. 

When faced with gender bias on the job, women who took part in the survey said that their primary solution was to “prove their worth by doing more.” In contrast, male respondents appeared to feel more entitled than women asking for promotions and pay raises, saying that if they experienced discrimiantion, they would bring their complaints to higher-ups and demand “a valid explanation.” 

Despite heightened awareness around workplace sexual misconduct, the survey found that nearly 10% of the female respondents had experienced sexual harassment during their careers, primarily in the form of sexual remarks, suggestive looks, and persistent dating attempts.

Another finding was that women suffered considerably higher levels of work-related stress and anxiety than their male colleagues. Over 90% of the study’s female participants said that they were under constant, intense pressure, with lack of managerial support, fewer job promotion opportunities, and family responsibilities being the primary sources of their mental strain.

Unfortunately, home is not a safe, stress-free place for Chinese women, either. Another survey, done on the five-year anniversary of the introduction of China’s first-ever anti-domestic violence law by New Media Women 新媒体女性, a feminist collective based in Guangzhou, asked 14,716 people — mostly women — about their opinion on the landmark legislation and what else they thought could be done to protect victims of intimate partner violence or child abuse. 

The results (in Chinese), released today, found that about 75% of the respondents heard about the law through social media, whereas schools and community-based organizations, which were encouraged by the law to expand their awareness efforts around the issue, had done little. In fact, roughly 94% of the respondents said they were unsatisfied with the amount of awareness work carried out in regards to the law, adding that they wanted to learn more specifics like how to apply for protection orders, how to find emergency shelters, and how to collect evidence of abuse.

In terms of law enforcement, more than 80% of those who responded to the survey described public security organs as the main department responsible for “preventing and eliminating” violence against women at home. Yet they said police officers needed to respond to reports of domestic violence in a more “timely and effective” way, and treat victims with more “dignity and respect.”