Atheistic China and sexism
China has the largest atheist population in the world. In addition, China practices state atheism in that it requires members of the Communist Party of China to be atheists and the Chinese government does engage in some degree of religious persecution (See also: China and atheism).
Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."
Yi-Ling Liu of the Associated Press reported in 2018 about atheistic China and sexism:
|“|| Activists say the decline in women's status that began with the economic reforms of the 1980s accelerated as the party set aside leftist politics as a unifying message for the country and instead promoted more traditional, male-dominated Confucian beliefs.
The gulf between the sexes is especially pronounced at the highest levels of politics: The ruling party's Standing Committee, the inner circle of power, has never had a female member. In the next tier, a single woman sits in the larger 25-member Politburo...
Still, in a 2011 survey the federation also found women's wages were on average two-thirds lower than men's. And the share of women in the labor force dropped to 61 percent last year from 72 percent 20 years ago, according to the World Bank.
Party leaders are worried China is producing too few children to support its aging population, said Leta Hong-Fincher, a sociologist and author of "Betraying Big Brother: The Rise of China's Feminist Resistance," due out later this year. "The government launched a propaganda campaign referring to single, over-educated women over 30 as 'leftover' to stigmatize women into returning home, getting married and having babies," Ms. Hong-Fincher said...
In the more conservative countryside, women who suffer from domestic violence and sexual assault "tend to blame themselves rather than speak out publicly," said Li Maizi, a women's rights activist who was detained in 2015 for handing out stickers protesting sexual harassment.
Georgetown University's Berkeley Center declares about China and sexism:
|“|| In China, however, sexism still pervades in many aspects of life. I had expected this culture to some extent before I even came to Beijing, so I had not planned to write a commentary on the topic. After living in China’s capital for two months, however, I have begun to realize just how big a problem gender discrimination really is. I first began seriously considering this issue when our program director proclaimed in class one day that China will never have a female president. She seemed so firm in her belief, although dismayed at the reality of it. I knew China had its inequality issues just like every other country, but I had not realized the extent to which women face discrimination.
According to the United Nations’ Gender Inequality Index, China is ranked 91 out of 187 countries. Coming from the United States, which is ranked fifth, I can see the difference. From little occurrences to blatant sexism, my female classmates and I have experienced many instances of discrimination based on our gender. Some of the more subtle indications of this inequality show up in everyday life, such as when the waiter hands the tongs for the hotpot to our male friend despite a female classmate being closer and already reaching out to receive the tongs...
I followed up with our program director to find out why she so strongly believed China would never have a female president. Her answer was twofold. The first related to systematic difficulties for women to gain positions of political power. Electing the president is an internal decision made by upper leadership in the party. Because most, if not all, of these politicians are male, given the institutionalized sexism in China, it is unlikely that they would choose a female to lead. The second part of her answer reflected the cultural stigma that women inherently lack leadership ability. Although she admits that the status of women has greatly improved in the past 50 years, women’s involvement in leadership roles is still limited. Even after obtaining such a position, a woman’s abilities are still doubted, and they have difficulty gaining support by colleagues. My director told me that companies do not even try to hide this discrimination; frequently job postings will blatantly convey the message “Women need not apply.”
Lacking of freedom of expression and a political voice, women in China do not really have a platform on which to protest this discrimination. In democratic nations, women can advocate for change, but in China, there is no one to represent their interests.
China and gender based workplace discrimination
The New York Times reported:
|“|| Chinese women are losing ground in the work force compared with men, their representation falling steadily with each rung up the professional ladder. Women make up 44.7 percent of the work force, but just 25.1 percent of people with positions of “responsibility,” according to China’s 2010 census.
At the very top, their share falls still further.
According to corporate records examined by The New York Times, fewer than 1 in 10 board members of China’s top 300 companies are women. That measure, significantly smaller than the proportion of women on corporate boards in the United States...
“Chinese law doesn’t define gender discrimination, so how do you even argue a case?” he asked. “It’s very, very difficult to get one into court.”
Companies need not bother with subtlety in job advertisements. A maker of security cameras seeks sales managers: No women need apply. A company that sells box cutters is looking for a human resources manager: male, age 25 to 35.
- Sexism in China: where women are second class citizens, The Telegraph, 2015
- *Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
- A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
- Fisher, Max and Dewey, Caitlin (May 23, 2013). "A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live". The Washington Post website.
- Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
- Chinese activists decry so-called 'female morality schools'
- Sexism Persists Despite China’s Development
- In China’s Modern Economy, a Retro Push Against Women by DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW and MICHAEL FORSYTHE, New York Times, FEB. 20, 2015