Human Rights Watch

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China: Job Ads Discriminate Against Women

Government, Companies Seek ‘Men Only,’ Hype Having ‘Beautiful Girls’

Monday 23 April 2018

(Hong Kong, April 23, 2018) – China’s government and private Chinese companies should end their widespread use of gender discriminatory job advertisements, Human Rights Watch said in a new report today. Chinese authorities rarely enforce legal prohibitions against gender discrimination in employment and in advertising.

“Nearly one in five job ads for China’s 2018 national civil service called for ‘men only’ or ‘men preferred,’ while major companies like Alibaba have published recruitment ads promising applicants ‘beautiful girls’ as co-workers,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Chinese authorities need to act now to enforce existing laws to end government and private hiring practices that blatantly discriminate against women.”

The report, “‘Only Men Need Apply’: Gender Discrimination in Job Advertisements in China,” analyzed over 36,000 job advertisements posted between 2013 and 2018 on Chinese recruitment and company websites and on social media platforms. Many of the ads specify a requirement or preference for men. Some job posts require women to have certain physical attributes – with respect to height, weight, voice, or facial appearance – that are irrelevant to job duties. Others use the physical attributes of companies’ current female employees to attract male applicants

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