With party Congress concluded, focus on lack of women in top echelons of power in Beijing
Just as the debate in world media focused on how rise of current Chinese President Xi Jinping would impact China and also of the international community.
There is also another fact that escaped the attention of most of the media outlets, that of lack of lack of women at the top echelons of power in Beijing.
Just who would be on the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee was a matter of fierce debate, but on one thing everyone was certain: there would be no women.
The People’s Republic of China has never had a female president, nor have any women served on the Standing Committee, where all key decisions about running the country are made, since the party came to power in 1949.
The next rung down — the 25-member Politburo — previously had only two female members.
It now only has one.
China’s lack of female leadership is made all the more stark by the contrast with Hong Kong and Taiwan, both of which are run by women.
Carrie Lam took office as first female leader in Hong Kong, a former British territory now part of China, in July.
In Taiwan, a self-governing island China views as a breakaway province, Tsai Ing-wen was elected as its first female president in early 2016.
Other countries in the region — South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore — have also all had women leaders.
The founding father of the People’s Republic, Mao Zedong, famously proclaimed that “women hold up half the sky,” so why, four decades after his death, are there still so few high-level female politicians in China?