Leading Chinese firms including e-commerce giant Alibaba were heavily criticised on Monday for gender discrimination in job adverts in a new report which said the landscape for the female workforce in China was deteriorating.
The report by campaign group Human Rights Watch, entitled “Only Men Need Apply: Gender Discrimination in Job Advertisements in China”, details a host of offences by private companies and public bodies, from issuing “men only” job ads to requests for women applicants to be “trim” and “aesthetically pleasing”.
The adverts reflect “traditional and deeply discriminatory views” that women are less capable than men and that they will not be committed to their jobs because of their role as family caregivers, it said.
According to the report, discrimination in hiring practices is contributing to a drop in the female workforce and a widening gender pay gap.
Although such discrimination is illegal in China, rules are unclear and rarely enforced, it added.
Tech behemoths Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu had all published job ads that openly stated a preference for male applicants, the report said.
Alibaba was also accused of repeatedly using the lure of attractive female co-workers in its recruitment campaigns, describing them as “Ali beauties” and “goddesses” on social media.
Although a #MeToo movement exposing sexual harassment has recently emerged in China, authorities have deleted some social media posts and closed related topic forums in an attempt to control it.