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News: China’s Women Professionals Challenge Workplace Inequality

The South China Morning Post ran an article about women forming support groups throughout China to help combat workplace inequality:

Women professionals on the mainland face more sex discrimination now than they did 20 years ago, studies say, and support groups inspired by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In are sprouting up in Beijing and Shanghai to challenge this resurgence.

Lean In Beijing was featured in the article:

A group of young professional women in Beijing, calling themselves “Lean In Beijing”, have started the first support group in China inspired by Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. In her book, Sandberg advises women on how to achieve their full leadership potential and encourages readers to form “circles” with other women for shared growth and support.

And Lean In Beijing member Charlotte Han was quoted:

“Chinese girls are educated to be gentle, quiet and passive, to find a stable job and a suitable man, get married and settle down. Ambition isn’t considered a good thing for women,” she said. “After reading the book, I want to take a proactive attitude to pursuing what I want and engage in meaningful and challenging work that helps me to learn and grow.”

The group created supportive communities for women who may feel isolated when dealing with problems, Han said. “In addition to the public events, we help women form small groups with other women in their industry so that they give each other advice and support.”

The article also mentioned the meeting between Lean In Beijing and Sheryl Sandberg during her visit to China last month:

During a visit to China last month, Sandberg met several Lean In Beijing members on September 12 and then wrote a statement on her Facebook page about the “unique” situation for women in China: “The fact that women could be seen as too educated to be desirable for marriage in a country with 24 million unmarried men shows that cultural norms about the balance of success within couples run deep.” But researchers say this wasn’t as prevalent 20, or perhaps even 10, years ago.

Click here to view the article from South China Morning Post or here for the PDF version.

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