“Will You Have Children?” Young Female Grads Face Sexism on the Job Hunt

“Will You Have Children?” Young Female Grads Face Sexism on the Job Hunt
Dec 08, 2015 Translated by eChinacities.com

Editor's Note: Women may hold up half the sky in China, but they are not holding up half of the job market. In 2011, the All-China Women's Federation found that 90% of women believed they had experienced gender discrimination by employers. In a time when recruiters brazenly post "males preferred" jobs, this is not as surprising as it should be. One reason females are not being considered for jobs is a core competency they are born with, one that no man can put on his resume, the ability to give birth. By law, every mother shall receive 98 days of paid maternity leave. In addition, a Chinese female employee who gives birth to her first child at age 24 or older is regarded as a case of ‘late childbirth,’ and thereby will be entitled to an additional ‘late maternity leave’ of roughly 30 days. A female employee shall also be granted at least one hour each day during work hours for breast-feeding during a one-year ‘breast-feeding period.’ These allowances cost employers money, and they are making the practical decision of not hiring future mothers. The translated article reports on the barriers women face entering the job market and how it may be getting worse in a post-one-child-policy world.

The job hunt for Chinese graduates is difficult, and it’s even harder for female graduates. The introduction of the two-child policy may make it even more difficult in the future for young Chinese women. The Beijing Youth Daily recently investigated this phenomenon.

Female students at Beijing universities said that when looking for a job, they were usually asked in the interview when they were going to have children. Almost every interviewer asks this question. Many female graduate students said that their answer to this one question often hinged on the success of their interview.

“When Will You Get Married?”
Companies want women who already have children or do not plan to have children and therefore will not leave to have a baby. The new two-child policy may make things even more difficult for job-seeking women.

At a recent 985 college campus recruitment fair, hundreds of students lined up to talk to recruiters and employers. Many companies put up flyers for jobs that said “priority to males.” This was very frustrating to all of the female students present.

A pharmaceutical company at the recruitment fair interviewed candidates for positions in drug development and pharmaceutical work. The company posted three positions in drug development that asked for male applicants. Despite this, dozens of women were lined up at the booth, waiting to have their resumes reviewed.

The company interviewer first asked the women, “Do you have a boyfriend yet? Do you have plans to get married soon?” One girl said, slightly embarrassed, “I have a boyfriend. As for marriage, we will decide once we are stable.” The interviewer put her resume to the side and ended the interview after less than one minute.

The girl left the interview shaking her head. “They just put it aside, and won’t ask me for another round of interviews.” The person next to her asked why. She said, “They spoke to the girl in front of me for more than 10 minutes. He just marked me down as someone who would just get married and have a baby. It’s pretty obvious what just happened.”

Winners in Life?
There are a number of hidden rules in place for young female job seekers in China. “Today is a special event, and has a lot of thin-skinned students just of out of school. Therefore we did not put “already married with children,” in our recruitment ad. However, during the interview process we will state our preference for this,” said a recruiter at the fair.

Most women interviewed by the Beijing Youth Daily said that they have been asked when they are going to have children during a job interview. Almost all of them said that the question has become a “necessary one,” asked at almost all interviews. “It is easier for women who get married during graduate school and have children young to find a job. We call them the winners in life,” said a woman at the fair.

However, the new two-child policy has already had an impact. A woman in line at the recruitment fair said that a few days ago, an interviewer asked her if she was planning on having a second child. She said that the question left her “confused and dumbfounded.”

“When we are asked if we are going to have children during a job interview, what should we say?” asked a woman at a recent career planning information session. A hundred other girls at the session nodded. Senior corporate trainer Liu Zhimin admitted that in his tour of six universities, women at each session have asked the same question. The two-child policy is also on the minds of many students. “Questions about having children are asked by everyone, and it seems to reflect the general anxieties of the female population, said Liu.

Men Preferred
A HR representative from a company said that each quarter the female graduate students who are already married can apply to jobs that ask for applicants that are already married with children, so it often seems like they have more options. On the other hand, unmarried women with no children have advantages as well, and having children early just for employment reasons is not worth it.

“From an employer’s perspective, we really do prefer male candidates. When women take maternity leave, it costs us a lot,” said another recruiter at the fair.

When a young woman looking for a job from graduate school are usually around 24 years old. After a year or two working, they may want to start a family and take maternity leave. This ends up costing a company tens of thousands of Yuan.

With the introduction of the two child policy, women may now choose to have a second child which complicates things for employers. They may also decide not to come back to work and stay home with their second child. “This would be a huge loss to the company. From this point of view, it is just easier to hire men.”

Source: QQ News

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Keywords: gender inequality China female discrimination childbirth


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This happens in the West, just the same. Just not as much "in your face" as this article describes.

Oct 25, 2016 21:40 Report Abuse



What Jerks... Here really nobody have any human feelings ! Is very clear in everything they do ! All what they care is money and production , not peoples and human feelings ! Why then the employer is not asked :" If your mother would not gave you birth, would you exist today ???? " Really non human things happen in China, I am no wonder here no one has any feelings for anything except money !!!! In my country, any new mother is allowed to stay home after birth , 2-3 years and also the goverment give money to parents every month until the child is 18 . China will never have this things !

Dec 16, 2015 15:30 Report Abuse



Pretend you're a man.

Dec 14, 2015 11:26 Report Abuse



For once it's not just exclusive to China Wrong as it is , this is common place through out the world

Dec 12, 2015 15:19 Report Abuse



Why not just have a law that states males are also entitled to have 3+1 months faternity leaves? That would sort out this problem easily. (and create another one; that of unproductive labor-force)

Dec 11, 2015 16:59 Report Abuse



Because the labor force is SO productive now, right?

Dec 14, 2015 09:59 Report Abuse



So bizarre it makes me reconsider this country, just like every other thing in this country.

Dec 10, 2015 07:56 Report Abuse



Sounds like any work place in the west

Dec 08, 2015 19:57 Report Abuse



I actually dislike women in the workforce in the sense that doubling the amount of labor (unless you double the amount of jobs) leads to lower salaries...The high standard of living of Americans in the 1950's and 60's was related to not only the post war boom but also women leaving the factories. As we have fewer and fewer jobs that pay a living wage, more workers, of any kind, equal lower salaries.

Dec 08, 2015 14:23 Report Abuse



Can't hack it with the girls playing?

Dec 08, 2015 22:13 Report Abuse



Well, at my job, a few times a newly-wed girl would get pregnant, take her maternity leave, and then quit before coming back to work. I can see this as a valid concern for companies.Perhaps the law needs to be reworked,like, if you take 3-4 months maternity leave, you are somehow contractually obligated to return to work for a certain amount of time?

Dec 08, 2015 11:15 Report Abuse



Or just provide the same faternity leave for new fathers. That would clear out the "problem". Unless of course, males are being discriminated here by saying that companies should just go 50-50 on new hires, but only give the lucrative maternity leaves to females...?

Dec 11, 2015 16:56 Report Abuse



Well, this is China...

Dec 08, 2015 07:23 Report Abuse