Converging Divergences: Gendered Patterns of Career Mobility in Urban China's Economic Transition

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionHe, Guangye, and Xiaogang Wu. 2016. "Converging Divergences: Gendered Patterns of Career Mobility in Urban China's Economic Transition." PSC Research Report No. 16-875. 12 2016.

This paper examines gendered patterns of career mobility during urban China's economic transition. As labor markets become increasingly competitive and women gradually lose the employment protection they used to enjoy under state socialism, work-family conflicts become more prominent in shaping women's career trajectories and their labor market outcomes. Based on the analysis of the retrospective life history data from the Chinese General Social Survey conducted in 2008, we show that Chinese women in the workforce are more adversely affected by marriage and dependent children than their male counterparts; they are more likely to withdraw from the labor market to fulfill their roles as wives and mothers and are less likely to move up in the career ladder. This pattern is more salient in the late reform stage (1999-2008) than before. These findings bear important implications for formulating effective social policies to promote gender equality in contemporary China.

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