Archive for ‘Gender issues’

13/01/2017

India’s Working Women – The Numbers – Briefly – WSJ

India has one of the world’s most lopsided female participation rates in its labor force, an imbalance global chains want to change as they establish foothold in the world’s second-most populous nation.

A Wall Street Journal article outlines how fast-food chains have become an unlikely source of female empowerment and employment.

Here is a look at the numbers behind the country’s female workforce.

Less Than One Third

Only 27% of India’s workforce is female, far below the world average of 50%, according to the World Bank. Tanzania has the highest percentage of women in its workforce, at 88%, while Syria has the lowest, at 14%.

63%

A vast majority of India’s working women–about 63%–are employed as helpers on farms. Women typically account for less than one in five employees in sectors outside agriculture.

1%

It is hardest to find women in the transportation sector in India, partly because families shield their daughters and sisters from traveling alone and forbid them from activities that may involve late nights, such as trucking. Only 1% of India’s transport sector is made up of women.

At Least One Third

At least one in three employees working for a global food chain in India is female. American fast-food chains offer female-only shifts, self-defense classes, mentoring programs and parents’ lunches to draw more women into their stores and convince their families they are a safe place to work. Having 30% workers as women may not seem particularly high, but that’s more than twice the average for the food-service industry in India, where only 14% workers are female.

Source: India’s Working Women – The Numbers – Briefly – WSJ

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03/10/2016

Amitabh Bachchan: ‘If she gets paid more than me, that’s fine’ – BBC News

One of India’s biggest stars, Amitabh Bachchan, says he’s glad people are talking about the gender pay gap.

He recently starred in a film called Pink about feminism and attitudes towards women in India which has caused quite a stir in the country.

He spoke to the BBC’s Yogita Limaye.

Source: Amitabh Bachchan: ‘If she gets paid more than me, that’s fine’ – BBC News

10/06/2016

Indian men given life for gang-rape of Danish tourist | Reuters

Five Indian men were sentenced to life in prison on Friday for raping a Danish tourist in the heart of New Delhi‘s tourist district in 2014, in a case that reignited worries about sexual violence against women in India.

The men, all in their twenties, were found guilty by a Delhi court on Monday for robbing and raping the 52-year old Dane at a secluded spot close to New Delhi railway station.

“All the five convicts have been sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment for their offences,” additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, told Reuters at the court. The Dane was walking through an area of narrow lanes near Delhi’s Paharganj district, a tourist area packed with backpacker hotels, on the evening of Jan. 14, 2014, when she asked a group of men for directions to her hotel.

The men then lured the woman to an area near New Delhi railway station where they raped her and robbed her at knife-point, the prosecution said in its chargesheet.

India was shaken into deep soul-searching about entrenched violence against women after the fatal gang-rape in December 2012 of a female student on a bus in New Delhi.

The crime, which sent thousands of Indians onto the streets in protest against what many saw as the failure of authorities to protect women, encouraged the government to enact tougher jail sentences for rapists.

Police accused nine men of attacking the Danish woman in 2014. Three are juveniles being tried in a separate court while a fourth died during the trial.

Lawyer D.K. Sharma, representing the five convicted men, said his clients would appeal against the verdict.

Source: Indian men given life for gang-rape of Danish tourist | Reuters

04/12/2015

China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met with top U.S. and Chinese technology executives in Seattle two months ago, they posed for a now-famous group photo. But one thing was missing: women from China.

As WSJ’s Li Yuan writes in her “China Circuit” column: This defies the conventional wisdom in China that compared with Silicon Valley, China’s tech industry has less of a gender-inequality problem. True, women accounted for nine out of 30 Alibaba partners when it went public in 2014. Both Alibaba and Baidu’s chief financial officers are women. Some of China’s most prominent venture capitalists are women, too.

But the group photo attests to what is really happening behind the success stories: China’s tech industry is as male-dominated as that of Silicon Valley. And unlike the debate and discussions taking place in Silicon Valley about gender inequality, China’s tech industry has yet to acknowledge the problem. With the​tech sector becoming the brightest spot in a sluggish economy, women risk losing out in the competition for the best-paying jobs and the best opportunities to start their own businesses.

Source: China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

04/12/2015

Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s policy makers have long accepted the need for workers to delay retirement to ease social and fiscal pressures from a rapidly aging population. Few, however, could agree on how to do it.

This week, state-backed researchers fueled fresh debate on the issue with a new proposal on how to coax more productive years out of China’s silver-haired generation. They called for gradually extending the country’s statutory retirement thresholds over the next three decades, culminating in a flat retirement age of 65 years. But their plan is proving unpopular. It is particularly striking a nerve among some women, who in China can retire between five and ten years earlier than men. The statutory retirement age for men is set at 60 years.

On social media, many female users mocked what they perceived as selective pursuit of gender equality. “In 2045, would there be equal pay between men and women? Would men be able to give birth?” a user, who identified as female, wrote on the popular Weibo microblogging service. “Chinese society, in reality, is rife with gender inequality; why bring about gender equality in retirement age?” another user wrote.

In an online survey, the state-run China National Radio found nearly 80% of respondents objected to setting a flat retirement age for men and women. “Delaying retirement is understandable, but setting the same retirement age for men and women isn’t compatible with our country’s conditions,” CNR quoted a Weibo user as saying. “Men would only have to work five more years, while women would have to work ten years longer. And women still have to face family pressures, so it’s clearly unsuitable.”

The proposal from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences comes amid a longstanding debate in government and academic circles on how to implement a much-needed but deeply unpopular policy. Beijing has said it will gradually raise retirement thresholds starting in 2022, though the policy would only be finalized in 2017. Under rules unchanged since the 1950s, China allows most female workers to retire when they turn 50, while women in public-sector jobs can do so at 55 years of age. To change this, the CASS researchers proposed that the government could in 2017 set a flat retirement age for women at 55 years, eliminating the distinction between private and public-sector workers. Authorities could begin extending retirement thresholds—for men and women—at a fixed pace, starting in 2018.

CASS researchers suggest adding a year to the female retirement age every three years, while doing so for men every six years. Beijing could also allow flexibility for workers to bring forward or delay their retirement by up to five years, on the condition that their pension payouts would be adjusted accordingly, CASS said.

Source: Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

19/01/2015

India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ

One of India’s largest taxi companies says it has a solution for women worried about their safety after the alleged rape by an Uber driver: pink cabs with pepper spray.

Meru Cab chief executive Siddhartha Pahwa announced the new service–called Meru Eve– Friday from a dais decorated with daisies and gladioli.

“The incident last month forced all of us to think how we can make roads safer for women,” he said.

Its new line of taxis in Delhi will be driven by women . They will have pepper spray and panic buttons that immediately notify Meru if there is trouble.

There have been taxi services for women for years-such as ForShe Taxis and Sakha Cabs–but Meru Eve promises to take the concept to the next level. The service started in the capital region Friday with around 20 vehicles and may be rolled out in other cities later.

Meru worked with the Delhi police to equip the cabs and give the women drivers self-defense training to protect themselves and their passengers.

Meru’s Mr. Pahwa said that after the alleged rape of a female passenger by an Uber driver, Meru received calls from anxious passengers asking for female taxi drivers.

“This is an important step towards women’s empowerment,” said Tajender Singh Luthra, a joint commissioner of police in Delhi.

Meru’s regular drivers have always been given specific training on the appropriate ways to interact with women passengers. It says it has never had a complaint but decided to go further to make women passengers feel more safe.

“These drivers come from small towns and are not used to big city culture, like women smoking, wearing a short dress or travelling alone at night,” Mr. Pahwa said. “We train our drivers to avoid eye contact with women, maintain two feet of distance and not to adjust the rear view mirror to watch the passenger.”

The Meru Eve drivers will wear pink vests and drive white-and-pink hatchbacks.

One of the new drivers, 22-year-old Sarita Dixit, said that she expects her income to jump with demand for women drivers as more companies start women taxi services. Meru drivers typically earn between 20,000 and 30,000 rupees ($322 to $483) a month, which is more than she earned in her last job working as a chauffeur.

The new services will not only help empower women that can afford taxis but also woman looking for work, said Vimla Mehra, Delhi’s special police commissioner for administration.

“You don’t see many women professionals in India. Programs like this build confidence in women to earn a living. They become role models,” she said.

via India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ.

28/11/2014

Women still outnumbered in top jobs – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

Despite China having one of the highest rates of female employment in the world, only a small percentage of women work in senior positions, said a research report released in Shanghai on Thursday.

Women hold less than 10 percent of executive level jobs in China and have only a 1 in 15 chance of reaching the chief executive suite, the report based on a study by Bain & Co said.

Only about 6 percent of CEOs and 8 percent of board directors are women, and only 27 percent of senior managers are female, according to the report.

The study in May surveyed 850 women who hold a variety of positions in more than 25 industries and 50 cities across China.

Disruption from family commitments is the top obstacle to women advancing in China.

“I wish to excel in my career and take good care of my family at the same time. Sometimes I feel that I might have been expecting too much,” said Meng Xiaoqing, a 25-year-old clerk who has been working for three years for a furniture maker in Shanghai.

Meng said she once aspired to become head of her department, but she dropped the plan because she “might not be able to handle more responsibilities and a household at the same time”.

China has introduced a series of gender parity policies and has promoted equal opportunities for women, but accepted norms and behaviors are somehow disconnected from these policies, said Jennifer Zeng, co-author of the study.

About 73 percent of working-age women in China are employed, compared with 67 percent in the UK, 66 percent in Australia and 62 percent in the United States.

Women tend to be as qualified as men when they enter the workforce, comprising 47 percent of university graduates in China, and they initially progress in equal numbers, holding 46 percent of professional positions, the report said.

“My observation is that enterprises have been investing heavily in improving gender parity, and female employees are better informed than ever about how to protect themselves when gender discrimination occurs,” said Liu Wei, a lawyer at Shanghai Shenda Law Firm.

The real challenge is for companies themselves to counter the prevailing stereotypes, differences in women’s and men’s leadership styles, as well as gender and organizational biases, Zeng said.

Neither men nor women seem to like female bosses, who are perceived as being detail-oriented to the point of micromanaging. As women move up in seniority, they are also more likely to be labeled “aggressive” and “less feminine”, and such stereotypes and labels can undercut women’s confidence levels and make it more difficult for them to work effectively with others.

via Women still outnumbered in top jobs – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

27/11/2014

China Drafts a Law on Domestic Abuse – Businessweek

China’s government is seeking public input as it drafts a long overdue law to protect victims of domestic violence. In addition to shielding spouses from abusers, the law will address physical aggression against children and elders—all issues that are at once taboo and disturbingly common in modern China.

China Drafts a Law on Domestic Abuse

According to a 2011 study by the All China Women’s Federation, a quarter of women in China have been victims of some form of domestic violence. Yet for many years, spousal abuse was considered a private or family matter, making it difficult for victims to seek police intervention or professional counseling.

The problem of widespread domestic abuse first gained traction in Chinese news headlines in 2011 after Kim Lee, the American wife of a high-profile Chinese entrepreneur, posted photos of her badly bruised face on Weibo. She explained on the microblog that her husband, Li Yang, founder of the Crazy English language school, regularly hit her.

In 2013 the couple divorced, and Lee was awarded custody of their three children and 12 million yuan (nearly $2 million) in damages and compensation. Her decision to discuss the matter publicly helped ignite a national conversation.

According to Xinhua, the new “family abuse” law will require police to respond immediately to reports of domestic violence. It will also create mechanisms for victims to seek restraining orders against abusers. If a domestic violence case is heard in court, the draft law offers some guidance in sentencing, suggesting jail terms of up to seven years for serious offenders.

via China Drafts a Law on Domestic Abuse – Businessweek.

19/11/2014

‘Exceptionally Low’ Female Labor Participation Holding Back India’s Economy – India Real Time – WSJ

Women’s empowerment hasn’t featured prominently so far in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s program for economic revival. It probably should, according to the latest overview of the Indian economy by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The report, released Wednesday by the Paris-based club of rich nations, suggests that enlarging economic opportunities for women could be a new “growth engine” for India, accelerating GDP growth by around two percentage points each year. India has narrowed the gender gap in health and education, the report says. But Indian women still lag far behind men when it comes to participation in both the formal and informal economies.

Just a third of working-age women in India were employed or looking for a job in 2010, a lower share by some distance than in Brazil (around 65%), China (75%), Indonesia (55%) or South Africa (45%). The figure for Indian men was over 80%.

More strikingly, female labor participation in India has actually fallen over the last decade: According to Indian-government data, the working-age populations of both men and women increased by around 100 million between 2000 and 2012. But the number of women employed or seeking employment only grew by 7 million over that period, whereas the number of men in those categories expanded by 70 million. Just a quarter of the increase in the number of women outside the labor force was accounted for by more women staying in school.

Indian women who do work don’t have great jobs, the OECD report shows. More than a third are unpaid helpers, as opposed to just 11% of working men. Women are also overrepresented in low-productivity agriculture and traditional, small-scale manufacturing. Only 6% of employed women get formal benefits like pensions or maternity leave. There aren’t many female entrepreneurs. (The report notes, though, that there aren’t many entrepreneurs in India, period, relative to other countries at the same stage of development.)

Illiterate women are more likely to be in the labor force than better-educated women, though participation is higher among high-school graduates. The relationship between female participation and income is similar: The richer a woman’s household is, the less likely she is to work.

Those patterns suggest “exceptionally low” female labor participation isn’t fully explained by simple measures of worker productivity.

On a 2012 OECD index of social obstacles to gender equality, India scores poorly relative to other large developing countries. Families’ preference for sons is stronger. Violence against women is more common. Women’s access to credit, land and property is more restricted. Marriage and inheritance laws favor men more.

Other social norms matter, too. As men’s incomes have risen over the last decade, their wives may prefer housework to a low-paying job, the report suggests. One study cited by the report finds that a family’s social status is considered higher if the woman stays at home.

via ‘Exceptionally Low’ Female Labor Participation Holding Back India’s Economy – India Real Time – WSJ.

01/08/2014

China’s Girl Births Ratio Improves as Country Gets More Educated – Businessweek

Priscilla Yang is standing outside Tuanjiehu Beijing Maternity Hospital, her husband dutifully holding aloft a purple umbrella to shield her from the blazing July sun. The 27-year-old is eight months pregnant and feeling relieved: Her latest rounds of prenatal tests came back normal.

Yang doesn’t know, but wonders about, the gender of her child. A college-educated public-relations executive, Yang says she hasn’t tried to wheedle illicit information from the maternity hospital staff. Boy or girl, “both are OK,” she says. “What I care most about is that the baby is healthy.”

Yang’s indifference about gender is becoming more common, though the struggle has been long. It has been illegal in China since 2001 for doctors to reveal the sex of the fetus to expectant parents. When ultrasound technology became widely available in the late 1980s, the number of sex-selective abortions shot up. Traditional Chinese culture prized sons, who performed heavy labor on farms and were expected to inherit land and stay home to care for elderly parents. Daughters left their parents’ household to join their husband’s after marriage. The one-child policy, announced in 1980 and enacted nationally within a few years, only intensified the desire for sons. Even after the 2001 law, many Chinese parents managed to bribe poorly paid doctors to see ultrasound results—then chose to abort female fetuses.

via China’s Girl Births Ratio Improves as Country Gets More Educated – Businessweek.

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