Female grads face gender bias

Many female graduates complain of doors being quickly shut in their faces as employers remain more keen on hiring men.

Half a year after the State Council, China's cabinet, first ordered employers to give prospective employees a fair shake, many female graduates still complain of doors being quickly shut in their faces as employers remain more keen on hiring men.

A handful of female graduates told the Global Times that having equal job opportunities is crucial now, more than ever, given that a record 6.99 million new graduates are expected to enter China's fierce job market by the end of the year, up 2.8 percent year-on-year, according to official figures.

Despite the latest official move stressing gender equality, many female graduates continue to experience "severe discrimination" when seeking employment, People's Daily reported on December 4, citing young women frustrated over not even being given a chance to prove their abilities.

A female graduate of accounting from Nanjing Audit University, Yang Ling said that she's had trouble being hired because employers fear that she will soon marry and have a child.

"They don't want female graduates because of maternity leave," she told the Global Times. "Employers think that we cost them more in social welfare."

Other female graduates say they are being edged out by employers who outline their preferences for male hires on job listings or exclude female applicants altogether. Similar anecdotes were raised in research findings published December 3 by People's Daily, stating that over 90 percent of candidates have suffered gender discrimination at some point in their job applications - of whom 85 percent were female.

And when it comes to traditionally male-dominated fields, the divide is even more apparent, said He Yang, a male engineering graduate of Nanjing Institute of Technology.

"Almost all of my male classmates have found jobs, while more than half of my female graduates have not," he told the Global Times.

Other students, meanwhile, discussed the issue online, saying that males are favored over females due to their suitability for some roles, such as "wining and dining" clients, which requires a person to be able to handle their alcohol - something men are stereotypically thought to be better at.

According to Wu Fan, an associate professor specializing in public policy at Nankai University in Tianjin, a joint effort between government, employers and the graduates themselves will be required to change the current situation.

"There are a lot of things we can do to eliminate gender discrimination," she said at an "Employment and gender equality" symposium held at the university this year, adding, however, that it will take some time to see the results.

But Zhang Xiaolin, a female finance graduate of Tsinghua University, said that waiting for change is waning on her.

"A lot of female students score just as well as male students, or even better, yet we don't get a chance to show what we can do after graduation because of our gender - that's depressing," she was quoted as saying by People's Daily.

  Source: Global Times  2013-12-11

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