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Gender, Labor and Inclusive Growth: Bringing the Global WEE Research Agenda to China Xiao-Yuan Dong University of Winnipeg National School of Development,

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Presentation on theme: "Gender, Labor and Inclusive Growth: Bringing the Global WEE Research Agenda to China Xiao-Yuan Dong University of Winnipeg National School of Development,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender, Labor and Inclusive Growth: Bringing the Global WEE Research Agenda to China Xiao-Yuan Dong University of Winnipeg National School of Development, Peking University IDRC-DIFD Expert Meeting on WEE and SIG January 26-27, 2012

2 Contents Background Research agenda Troops on the ground - Introduction to Chinese Women Economists (CWE) Research Training Program

3 Background Chinese economy over the past three decades has undergone dramatic transformations and rapid economic growth. The rapid economic growth has lifted more than 400 millions of people out of poverty and substantially improved the living standards of Chinese people. However, the benefits of economic growth have not been distributed evenly; the rising income inequality in post-reform China has been a subject of considerable attention. Studies based on national representative data also show that while the economic growth has raised the economic well-being of both Chinese men and women in absolute terms, the status of women relative to men in the labor market have deteriorated, especially after the SOE-sector restructuring in the late 1990s.

4 Source: NBS China Statistical yearbook, 2009 Table 2-5

5 Rising Human Development Index

6 Trends of income and consumption inequality between 1988 and 2003 Gini coefficientsRatio of top 10% to bottom 10% in consumption National Rural areas Urban areas Per capita income ratio Urban/rural Richest/poore st province Source: Qian (2005)

7 Rising gender inequalities in the labor market Rising gender gaps in labor force participation Source: CHNS

8 Prime-aged women withdrew from the labor market at higher rates than their male counterparts.

9 Prime-aged women were also more likely than men to be laid off and had greater difficulty finding reemployment (Du and Dong, 2009). Source: Chinas urban labor survey

10 The decline in womens employment was concentrated among those married to low-earning husbands (Ding, Dong and Li 2010). Source: Chinese household income survey

11 Women were more likely than men to experience downward occupational mobility, moving into jobs with lower pay and less skill requirement (Song and Dong, 2009). Source: Chinese Women Social Status Survey (2000)

12 A growing number of urban workers, predominately women, have been pushed into the informal sector (Yuan and Cook 2010) Source: CHNS

13 Growing gender wage disparities: The ratio of female to male earnings fell from 0.84 in 1987 to 0.76 in 2004 (Chi and Li, 2008) Source: Chinas urban household survey (Chi and Li, 2008)

14 The gender earnings gap went up from 1987 to 2004, more dramatically for lower deciles. Source: Chinas urban household survey (Chi and Li, 2008)

15 Economic disparities between urban and migrant workers Urban workersMigrant workers MaleFemaleMaleFemale Formal sector82%81%45%37% Self-employed9%7%30%27% Temporary workers 9%12%25%34% Wages (Yuan/month) 2,4751,9871,9341,309 Working hours/week Source: 2008 urban and migrant household survey.

16 Feminization of the rural economy Sources: CHNS

17 Compared to men, working women have longer work hours and higher time poverty rates (Dong and An, 2011). MenWomen Paid work (Hour/week) Unpaid work (hour/week) Total (hour/week) Time poverty rate (>80 hours/week) 5.6%10.2% Source: China time use survey 2008

18 Despite the aforementioned setbacks, due to the socialist legacy and rapid economic growth, gender inequalities in China remain lower relative to many countries at similar levels of development. Human development index ranking Gender inequality index ranking GII-HDI China The United States43733 Canada8168 Russia Brazil73807 South Africa India Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2010, Table 4

19 New challenges to WEE and SIG in China With the ending of population dividends and raising labor costs, the Chinese economy faces the massive destruction and reallocation of jobs in low-end manufacturing. - If not handled properly, this process will further polarize Chinas employment structure, exacerbate income inequality, and worsen womens position in the labor market. Chinese governments response -Boost internal consumption -Develop broad-based social protection and security schemes -Raise official poverty line to 2,300 yuan ($1.25/day) Bringing the WEE and SIG to China is of timely importance.

20 2. Research agenda 1. Need to improve methodologies Limitations of the existing research on gender and economic transformations in China - Tend to stress the instrumental rationale of gender equality more than the intrinsic rationale; -Narrowly focus on the market sector and paid work; -Lack of a macroeconomic perspective; -Quantitative analysis and inadequate attention to policy relevance.

21 Methodological Improvements - Place greater emphasis on the intrinsic rationale of WEE in the gender and development discourse; -Look at womens work in its totality, paying attention to the tradeoffs of paid work and unpaid family responsibility facing women, especially those from low-income families; -Link the research on WEE to macroeconomic policies; -Encourage pluralistic research methods and policy-oriented research.

22 2. Issues need to be explored Facilitating growth with decent jobs - Macro-issues Examine the impacts of the industrial upgrading process on the gender patterns of employment Develop gender-sensitive labor policy and social protection schemes -Issues concerning WEE in the formal sector What obstacles are there to womens entry to and career advancement in the sector? What obstacles are there to womens rising to managerial leadership positions? What policy measures may help foster family-friendly, gender equality- enhancing practices at the firm level? How do such practices affect both enterprise productivity and the well-being of male and female workers?

23 2. Issues need to be explored Issues concerning WEE in the informal sector -Special attention to two groups: -Migrant workers and paid domestic workers -Their earnings, working conditions, access to social protections and financial services, organized voice and capacity to bargain for fairer returns to labor Issues concerning WEE in the rural sector -Impacts of the feminization of agriculture on labor productivity and the wellbeing of female farmers and their families - Special attention to left-behind non-elderly women and the elderly

24 2. Issues need to be explored Enhancing enterprise development, entrepreneurship and innovation -What are the main reasons for women to start business? -What factors are attributable to the performance differences between women and men entrepreneurs? -What role do women play in enterprise innovation? -Earnings, productivity, working conditions, access to finance and social protections, voice and organizations of self-employed women and men

25 3. Troops on the ground The Chinese Women Economists (CWE) Research and Training Program of the National School of Development, Peking University ( -Established in 2002 under the sponsorship of the Ford Foundation -Have provide research trainings for more than 200 young CWEs from more than 100 Chinese universities and research institutes -32 established scholars from Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, returning west- trained Chinese scholars have participated in research mentoring -Have published about 70 articles (with research mentors) in international refereed journals -Hosted the 2011 IAFFE Annual conference in Hangzhou

26 3. Troops on the ground The goals of the program in its second decade -Mainstream gender in economic education, research and policy making in China -Work together with Chinese male economists and returning west-trained junior economists Needs for further capacity building - Gender research, case study, policy analysis, writing skills

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