Financial crisis hitting women workers harder

By Luo Chuanyin
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, November 26, 2009
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III. The two factors affected women's reemployment opportunities

Generally speaking, the percentage of males re-employed was higher than that of females.

1. Among those who lost their jobs as a result of the crisis, the unemployment rate among women was higher than that among men. The former reached as high as 60 percent during two periods, from April to September, 2008 and from April to June, 2009. The number of women who were registered unemployed increased faster than men. This situation reflects the fact that sex discrimination played a part during the financial crisis.

2. The reemployment rate among women was much lower than that among men except during the period from April to June, 2008. Nowadays, in the free job market, employers usually favor male candidates over their female counterparts if they are equally qualified.

3. As for the entire unemployed group registered with government, the unemployment rate among women was lower than that among men for most of the time. But from January to March 2009, the former exceeded the latter.

The following chart shows the tendency of reemployment among women:

IV. Analysis of job discrimination during the financial crisis

Chinese women had to face unprecedentedly difficult situation in the job market as a result of the financial crisis.

1. Women do not get equal opportunities in the job market and their social rights are infringed.

Statistics show females make up 63 percent of the college students in Hangzhou. But female college graduates are far from being treated equally with their male counterparts in the job market. They suffer from discrimination in hiring. Those who manage to get jobs have had to make much greater efforts than males. Many of them have to make compromises. Not only companies but also government departments and institutions fail to give equal treatment to female candidates.

2. Women face job segregation and lack of job security

Women workers are concentrated in labor-intensive industries such as apparel manufacturing and the textile industry. They make up such a minor part of the workers in hi-tech industries that they are effectively marginalized. Job segregation remains a major issue.

More women than men work in the wholesale and retail business, social services, education, culture-related fields and health. But the situation is reversed in the financial sector, scientific research organizations, government departments and social institutions.

3. The income gap between men and women show women's rights are being infringed.

Surveys show that women employees are paid 10 percent less than their male counterparts in the same positions. The higher up the pay scale, the wider the income gap becomes.

Unequal pay between men and women is an undeniable and worsening phenomenon in the job market.

4. Job discrimination against women has become subtle.

Companies can no longer get away with explicitly discriminatory job advertisements. They filter female candidates out at the resume stage or after the first round of interviews. If an employee becomes pregnant, employers may transfer them to a worse job positions to force them to resign. Others deny female candidates equal opportunities by citing qualifications such as height and appearance in job ads. Such subtle approaches make campaigning against job discrimination difficult.

(This blog was first published in Chinese on November 18 and translated by Pang Li.)

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