Reading Assignment – Youth and Women in China

I'm starting a new (hopefully) regular feature on this blog — weekly reading assignments. I will highlight a few of the interesting articles or posts about China that I've run across in the course of the week.

I guess you could call me a compulsive educator. 

Oh well.  There are worse things to be called!

Peter Ford has an article in The Christian Science Monitor titled "China's younger generation: lifestyle counts as much as work."  He writes:

"Until 1994, Chinese college graduates were assigned a job by the government and expected to stay in it for the rest of their lives. Blue-collar kids, as often as not, took the jobs their mothers and fathers retired from.

Even the freedom to choose an employer, when it was introduced, did not encourage everyone to do so in a country accustomed to an "iron rice bowl" – cradle-to-grave security – from the state.

Today's entrants into the workforce, though, are much more demanding, and they can afford to be, says Tian Zhimin, who heads a boutique employment agency in Beijing. "As China's economy grows, enterprises need to hire more talent and more different kinds of talent," he says. "There are a lot of job opportunities.""

The Economist has an interesting article on women in China titled "The sky's the limit; but it's not exactly heaven." Here's a snippet:

"Women make up 49% of China’s population and 46% of its labour force, a higher proportion than in many Western countries. In large part that is because Mao Zedong, who famously said that “women hold up half the sky”, saw them as a resource and launched a campaign to get them to work outside the home. China is generally reckoned to be more open to women than other East Asian countries, with Taiwan somewhat behind, South Korea further back and Japan the worst. And its women expect to be taken seriously; as one Chinese female investment banker in Beijing puts it, “we do not come across as deferential”.

Young Chinese women have been moving away from the countryside in droves and piling into the electronics factories in the booming coastal belt, leading dreary lives but earning more money than their parents ever dreamed of. Others have been pouring into universities, at home and abroad, and graduating in almost the same numbers as men. And once they have negotiated China’s highly competitive education system, they want to get on a career ladder and start climbing."




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