China: No Women at the Top in China

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China: No Women at the Top in China

The Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

Photo credit: Guang Niu/Getty Images-AFP

A row of nine men in identical-looking dark suits — the all-male line-up of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the inner circle of power here — is a familiar image in China.

The lack of women at the top is perhaps no surprise. China is ‘‘a male-dominated society,’’ as Cai Xia, a professor at the party-building center in the Central Party School, recently told the People’s Daily (here’s the report in Chinese).

But how are women doing lower down in ‘‘the organization,’’ as the Communist Party is known here? (In Chinese that’s zuzhi, pronounced dzoo zher.) Are women faring better lower down the ranks?

Not really, according to new figures released by the two most official news sources here, the party-run People’s Daily and Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

In fact, the numbers show something interesting: Fewer than one in four of China’s nearly 83 million party members are female, or just 23.3 percent. The party is largely a boys-only affair.


Read the complete story at International Herald Tribune, published 11 July 2012.