Chinese feminist writer Lijia Zhang shared her views on the wage gap and sex discrimination in China in an interview.
“The market economy has led to increased gender inequality since the 1990s,” noted feminist writer Lijia Zhang (China File 11 June 2014). This is reflected in the widening wage gap between women and men, a development that runs counter to international trends where wage differentials have narrowed although they still disfavour women. According to official statistics urban women in China in 2010 earned on average 67.3 percent of men’s earnings, down from 78 percent in 1990. In the countryside, women make just 56 percent of men’s wages.
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LiJia Zhang is a rocket factory girl turned writer, journalist and social commentator. She was born in 1964 and raised on the banks of the Yangtze River. At 16, she was pulled out of school to work at a factory that produced inter-continental missiles. As an escape route, she taught herself English. After she went to England in 1990 LiJia dared to pursue her childhood dream by studying journalism. Back in China a few years later, LiJia started her career as an assistant to foreign journalists before becoming a journalist of her own right. Her features, often very human stories about the plight of China’s “little people”, have been published in South China Morning Post, Far Eastern Economic Review, Japan Times, The Independent, The Observer, Newsweek and The New York Times. Her widely acclaimed English-language memoir, “Socialism is Great!”chronicled LiJia’s decade-long experience at the rocket factory. LiJia’s journey from a worker to a prominent social commentator reflects the great transformation undergone by China itself. Zhang LiJia has been featured on the BBC, Channel 4, ABC (Australian) CNN, CBS and National Public Radio, among others.