Report: Chinese women earn 22 percent less than men

By Zhang Jiaqi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 8, 2018
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The average income of Chinese women is 22 percent lower than that of men, according to a report based on a sampling survey among labor forces of different industries and age groups in 31 Chinese provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

Julie Broussard, country program manager for the UN Women China Office, addresses the Summit on Chinese Female Leadership in Beijing on March 6. [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

The 2018 Report on the Current Situation of Chinese Women in the Workplace was released at the Summit on Chinese Female Leadership in Beijing on March 6. The survey, conducted during the first two months of 2018, is sponsored by UN Women and, a Chinese job search website.

The report findings show that the income disparity correlates with a lesser presence of women in management posts. Chinese women are found in around 15 percent more basic posts compared to men, while men take up a significantly higher proportion than women do in management positions, according to the report. 

The report suggests that the biggest obstacle for women to gain promotions at the workplace is the loss of opportunities due to maternity leaves, which is also the most difficult issue to address. 

Guo Sheng, CEO of, said in his introduction of the report that because of maternity leaves, women enjoy a relatively shorter period of golden years for career development compared to men. 

However, Guo said that data suggests positive changes have been taking place. A similar survey conducted by in 2017 showed an income gap of around 30 percent between women and men. Guo added that the trend has continued from previous years.

Entrepreneur Yang Ning said he has witnessed the healthy trend in the increasing presence of women in management posts, especially the increasing number of Chinese women who started up their own companies. 

"I only knew a few female CEOs who started up their own companies in 1999, but now, CEOs of many AI, AR, IOT companies are female as far as I know, like the ImageNet," Yang said.

Guo said women should continue to build on the momentum and break through glass ceilings, echoing the report that also calls for companies and the society to work together. 

The report lists a number of suggestions for securing women's rights in the workplace. 

To address the obstacles brought by maternity leaves, the report calls for companies to provide benefits that are more considerate to pregnant women and parents of newborns, such as installing baby-feeding rooms and providing paternity leave to fathers.

Julie Broussard, country program manager for the UN Women China Office, said at the summit that she hopes the annual event, now in its third year, can enhance public awareness of gender equality, and help to create a fair environment and promote equal opportunities for women's career development.

Broussard also acknowledged the role of women from a broad perspective of economic growth and sustainable development. 

She said that research has proven that women's increasing presence in leadership roles has a positive correlation with the growth of gross domestic product (GDP), and that if the gender inequality at the workplace decreased by 25 percent by 2025, China's GDP could increase by US$2.5 trillion, and the world’s GDP could increase by US$5.3 trillion.

Broussard added that elevating more women to leadership positions is important to both the U.N.’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the world's economy.

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