Chinese postgraduate student Zhu Xixi spoke to RFA's Han Qing about the growing problem of gender discrimination in graduate recruitment fairs, where some companies will overtly advertise for male graduates in posters on campus, while others make it clear to applicants at graduate jobs fairs that women aren't welcome. Other companies demand physical attributes in female recruits that aren't required of male recruits in the same job, while some jobs extend a quota limiting the number of female recruits. While some Chinese universities have responded to complaints by promising to investigate the matter, Zhu said that legislation banning such practices still isn't being implemented on the ground:
I have seen a lot of employment recruitment ads on campus that say that they are recruiting men or women ... In the past, very few of them would actually specify men or women at the recruitment stage, but we are seeing it more and more nowadays.
A lot of my friends who attended recruitment fairs said that even when they don't make it clear on the poster, it becomes clear at the recruitment event.
We have had laws forbidding gender discrimination in workplace recruitment for a long time now, but these practices are still very common.
The main problem lies with the companies who believe that women will always put their families first. So they make the assumption that this will affect their performance at work once they have children.
Another issue is the uneven division of labor in the home ... This also affects the ability of women to compete in the job market. If you don't have equality in the home, then that will translate itself into society as a whole, and into the workplace.
It's going to make life even more difficult for women.
The companies use this as an excuse for not hiring women, that they have too many responsibilities in the home. And it's used again as an argument in the home for women not working, because they will have to work even harder and find it even harder to achieve the same as men of a similar level to them.
I think it's important to divide the sacrifices more equally and have men spend more time in the home.
The government also makes discrimination worse with some of its policies, especially now that it is allowing families to have two children.
It's important to emphasize the role of men in raising children, not just leaving all of the burden to women. That way, companies won't see hiring women as being more costly than hiring men.
It's also important to have articles and websites emphasizing the need for greater equality. I think the two things have to work in tandem: the strengthening of women's status in the family as well as in society as a whole.
It's crucial that we start changing people's attitudes, because we already have the laws in place. But unless a lot of university students start to speak out [about gender discrimination in campus recruitment] people won't take it seriously.
Companies may be perfectly well aware of the laws, but because there may be a cost associated with them, they're not going to change [unless they're forced to].
This is something that everybody needs to work on together.
Reported by Han Qing for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.