Equal opportunity? Women's managerial careers in governmental organizations in China

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There is very limited knowledge about women's management careers in China. This paper examines the opportunities for and barriers to women's careers in China, using governmental organizations as an example in which the State is not only the advocate of equal opportunity policies but also, in practice, the gatekeeper. One of the greatest disparities between male and female occupational patterns in China is in the sphere of government employment where only one in five employees is female. The aim of this paper is to understand the Chinese characteristics of gender inequality in management careers. In looking at the factors that influence women's upward mobility, the intention is to identify the barriers to the appointment of women to top jobs. Some barriers will be unique to governmental organizations and so will require special attention if they are to be eradicated. However, women also face more general barriers to success which transcend differences of occupational sector or society. It is hoped that this paper will lead to a greater understanding of how career barriers for women in China may resemble and differ from those faced by their counterparts in the West.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-333
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Equal opportunity
  • Governmental organizations
  • Women's careers

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