Organizations Request an Apology for Discriminative Remarks Towards Women

January 22, 2014
Editor: Nancy Sun
Organizations Request an Apology for Discriminative Remarks Towards Women
Several organizations fighting for women's rights held a press conference on January 20 in response to the discriminative remarks of comparing women to products that made by a member of the Guangdong Political Consultative Conference most recently. [edu.163.com]
Several organizations fighting for women's rights held a press conference on January 20 in response to the discriminative remarks made recently by a member of the Guangdong Political Consultative Conference who compared women to products.

Luo Biliang, a member of the Guangdong Political Consultative Conference, came up with the metaphor and compared women to products during a panel discussion at the conference.

"The product has stayed on the shelf for over 20 years. On a perspective of relationships, pursuing doctoral degrees adds no value to women, and decreases their value instead," he said.

The Women's Studies Centers of the South China Normal University, the Gender Studies Center of the South China University of Technology, the Gender Education Forum of the Sun Yat-Sen University, and other institutions all called on Luo to apologize openly.

Ke Qianting, a professor at Sun Yat-Sen University, read a letter jointly signed by women's institutions which states: "Luo's metaphor of comparing women to products has insulted all women and violated the 48th article of the Constitution-'Women in the People's Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life, in political, economic, cultural, social and family life. The State protects the rights and interests of women, applies the principle of equal pay for equal work to men and women alike, and trains and selects cadres from among women.'"

However, Luo said to the media that he wouldn't apologize and said that his metaphor was based on the theory of the marriage market and that they interpret it out of the context.

"I said nothing wrong. The remark was an extension of the discussion about college students' harsh employment environment," he said. "I was saying that women with doctoral degrees have difficulties not only in finding jobs, but also in developing a relationship. Thus I suggest that female college students should develop a relationship first."

Wang Hongwei, a professor at the South China Normal University, who has concentrated on women's rights and interests, said Luo's remarks are ridiculous, as they are not based on any data or investigation.

"His conclusion of women doctors lacking love and being unwanted products are absurd," Wang said. "Only the involved individual can judge whether she or he is happy or not. Other people cannot define another person's happiness."

Some women with doctoral degrees also said Luo's suggestions are messing with other people's private lives, as the personal value of women should not be defined by marriage.

Luo responded that he respects women's personal choices and won't consider having boyfriends as a standard of recruiting doctoral students at his workplace.

In China, where marriage at a young age has long been the norm, women who remain unattached in their prime often find themselves under pressure to seek a husband.

In recent years, the media has been buzzing with stories about urban single women with high education backgrounds and high income, who are known as "shengnv" which translates as "leftover women."

Although the number of men unable to find a partner for marriage is known to be a major social time bomb, the issue of leftover women has garnered more media attention.

The All-China Women's Federation defines leftover women as single women above the age of 27. The Chinese Ministry of Education included the term in its official lexicon in 2007.

In a survey of 30,000 men, more than 90 percent said women should marry before 27 to avoid becoming unwanted, according to a survey conducted by the All-China Women's Federation.

In a culture like China's, where mainstream society continues to attach great importance to establishing a family, most people would expect women to marry early, and more importantly, to give birth to a child to carry on the family name, said Li Yinhe, a renowned sexologist.

"Many Chinese people, especially the elderly, would consider the choice of stay single an act of being unfilial," she explains. "Those who see single life as bliss are in a small minority, and most single women are looking for an end to their single lives," added Li.

Li believes that there will be a growing tolerance toward leftover women in Chinese society, and that women will become more comfortable with being unattached.

"Pluralism is the trend of social development, I hope that there will be a day where people are allowed to live their life the way they want without others picking on them. At that time, being single will not be seen as an issue any more," said Li.

(Source: ngocn.net/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)

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