Gender in Politics

  • December 7, 2011
  • Editor: Sarah Wang
  • Change Text Size: A  A  A

Heated discussion over the rise of female government leaders has begun in China since authorities urged government departments at all levels to select more women for leadership roles through ongoing nationwide local elections.

The move is a must to strengthen governance and ensure equality between men and women, said the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in an article in the People's Daily last week.

The department pointed out that China has highly valued the promotion of female officials with efforts to enhance women's political participation, calling on governments at or above the county level to meet the requirement of having females in leadership roles.

According to the Outline for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-20), a ten-year plan for women released by the State Council in August, at least one government leadership position at or above the county level should be filled by females by the end of 2020, and the proportion of female leaders should increase gradually. 

Women deputies pose for a group photo as they arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the Third Plenary Meeting of the 11th NPC's Fourth Session on March 11 in Beijing. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

Women deputies pose for a group photo as they arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the Third Plenary Meeting of the 11th NPC's Fourth Session on March 11 in Beijing. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

Remarkable Progress


Premier Wen Jiabao said  last month that the social status of females indicates the nation's social progress, as women are an important force for promoting national development, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Wen pledged to oppose all kinds of gender discrimination and set the stage for women's equal and full participation in the country's development, the report said.

Song Xiuyan, a deputy head of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), said at a conference in August that China has achieved significant progress in improving women's political influence in the past decade, as 86.2 percent of government departments at the county level offered leadership positions to women by the end of 2010, with an increase of more than 26 percent compared to figures in 2000.

"About 87.1 percent of provincial governments had at least one female deputy governor by the end of 2010," Song pointed out, adding that the country has three deputy chairwomen in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and four deputy chairwomen in the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Currently, women account for about 42.5 percent of total civil servants in government departments across the country, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

The Organization Department also affirmed the achievement after local elections, saying that most government branches now have female officials in leadership positions.

Still A Long Way to Go


However, there is still room for improvement in the training and development of female political leaders by the Chinese government, as women in China remain underrepresented in leadership positions.

"Chinese women still face obvious discrimination in career development, especially concerning promotions to high-level posts," Song said. "We still have a lot of work to do in order to raise social awareness and ensure gender equality."

According to a survey conducted by the ACWF and National Bureau of Statistics in December last year, only 2.2 percent of women have become chief officials in government departments, State-owned companies, and organizations, about half the percentage of men, the Xinhua reported.

A few regional governments fail to have female representation in senior positions due to their lack of long-term consideration and the shortage of highly qualified female officials, said the Organization Department.

Li Jun, a 31-year-old civil servant from Wuhan, Hubei Province, told the Global Times women have to put in more of an effort to become a leader than their male counterparts, as they need to balance their work and family.

"I have to give up a lot to get a promotion, including sacrificing time with my family," said Li, mother of a 2-year-old girl, adding that although she wants to compete with her male colleagues, family care should come first and that "life is difficult for Chinese women."

Sun Xiaomei, a professor with the China Women's University, told the Global Times very few women are found in the upper echelons partly due to conservative attitudes and the influence of the country's traditional culture.

"Many Chinese hold that women should devote themselves to their family rather than career development," said Sun. "There is no denying that China is still a male-dominated society."

Controversial Measures

The mandatory requirements for government branches to strike a balance between the sexes in senior positions across the country have sparked controversy, with some concerned they may lead to unfair elections.

According to the Organization Department, governments should give a priority to female candidates when there is a vacancy in leadership.

The department also encouraged an exchange of outstanding female officials to solve the shortage of suitable female candidates in certain regions in an effort to ensure balanced leadership in the country.

Chen Baozhong, a civil servant from a government department in Beijing, cast doubts on the requirements.

"Officials selection should be based on the candidates' capabilities regardless of their gender," Chen told the Global Times. "Such measures may leave a negative impact on official promotions, with the role of gender exaggerated," said Chen, concerned they may give rise to some female leaders with poor executive abilities. "The measures go from one extreme to another," he added.

However, an official from the ACWF, who requested anonymity, refuted Chen's remarks and viewed the requirements of having female leaders as part of a move to protect women's rights and give them influence in policymaking.

"A fair selection is the prerequisite of having women in leadership positions," the official claimed, citing authorities have also listed requirements on the abilities of female candidates.

(Source: Global Times)

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  • Gender in Politics2011-12-07   Editor: Sarah Wang

    Heated discussion over the rise of female government leaders has begun in China since authorities urged government departments at all levels to select more women for leadership roles through ongoing nationwide local elections.

    The move is a must to strengthen governance and ensure equality between men and women, said the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in an article in the People's Daily last week.

    The department pointed out that China has highly valued the promotion of female officials with efforts to enhance women's political participation, calling on governments at or above the county level to meet the requirement of having females in leadership roles.

    According to the Outline for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-20), a ten-year plan for women released by the State Council in August, at least one government leadership position at or above the county level should be filled by females by the end of 2020, and the proportion of female leaders should increase gradually. 

    Women deputies pose for a group photo as they arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the Third Plenary Meeting of the 11th NPC's Fourth Session on March 11 in Beijing. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

    Women deputies pose for a group photo as they arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the Third Plenary Meeting of the 11th NPC's Fourth Session on March 11 in Beijing. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

    Remarkable Progress


    Premier Wen Jiabao said  last month that the social status of females indicates the nation's social progress, as women are an important force for promoting national development, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

    Wen pledged to oppose all kinds of gender discrimination and set the stage for women's equal and full participation in the country's development, the report said.

    Song Xiuyan, a deputy head of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), said at a conference in August that China has achieved significant progress in improving women's political influence in the past decade, as 86.2 percent of government departments at the county level offered leadership positions to women by the end of 2010, with an increase of more than 26 percent compared to figures in 2000.

    "About 87.1 percent of provincial governments had at least one female deputy governor by the end of 2010," Song pointed out, adding that the country has three deputy chairwomen in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and four deputy chairwomen in the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

    Currently, women account for about 42.5 percent of total civil servants in government departments across the country, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

    The Organization Department also affirmed the achievement after local elections, saying that most government branches now have female officials in leadership positions.

    Still A Long Way to Go


    However, there is still room for improvement in the training and development of female political leaders by the Chinese government, as women in China remain underrepresented in leadership positions.

    "Chinese women still face obvious discrimination in career development, especially concerning promotions to high-level posts," Song said. "We still have a lot of work to do in order to raise social awareness and ensure gender equality."

    According to a survey conducted by the ACWF and National Bureau of Statistics in December last year, only 2.2 percent of women have become chief officials in government departments, State-owned companies, and organizations, about half the percentage of men, the Xinhua reported.

    A few regional governments fail to have female representation in senior positions due to their lack of long-term consideration and the shortage of highly qualified female officials, said the Organization Department.

    Li Jun, a 31-year-old civil servant from Wuhan, Hubei Province, told the Global Times women have to put in more of an effort to become a leader than their male counterparts, as they need to balance their work and family.

    "I have to give up a lot to get a promotion, including sacrificing time with my family," said Li, mother of a 2-year-old girl, adding that although she wants to compete with her male colleagues, family care should come first and that "life is difficult for Chinese women."

    Sun Xiaomei, a professor with the China Women's University, told the Global Times very few women are found in the upper echelons partly due to conservative attitudes and the influence of the country's traditional culture.

    "Many Chinese hold that women should devote themselves to their family rather than career development," said Sun. "There is no denying that China is still a male-dominated society."

    Controversial Measures

    The mandatory requirements for government branches to strike a balance between the sexes in senior positions across the country have sparked controversy, with some concerned they may lead to unfair elections.

    According to the Organization Department, governments should give a priority to female candidates when there is a vacancy in leadership.

    The department also encouraged an exchange of outstanding female officials to solve the shortage of suitable female candidates in certain regions in an effort to ensure balanced leadership in the country.

    Chen Baozhong, a civil servant from a government department in Beijing, cast doubts on the requirements.

    "Officials selection should be based on the candidates' capabilities regardless of their gender," Chen told the Global Times. "Such measures may leave a negative impact on official promotions, with the role of gender exaggerated," said Chen, concerned they may give rise to some female leaders with poor executive abilities. "The measures go from one extreme to another," he added.

    However, an official from the ACWF, who requested anonymity, refuted Chen's remarks and viewed the requirements of having female leaders as part of a move to protect women's rights and give them influence in policymaking.

    "A fair selection is the prerequisite of having women in leadership positions," the official claimed, citing authorities have also listed requirements on the abilities of female candidates.

    (Source: Global Times)

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