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You Think Silicon Valley Has a Problem with Diversity? China’s Is Way Worse

August 17, 2017

James Damore became a poster boy for the alt-right last week when he wrote a memo suggesting that women weren’t necessarily suited to careers in tech for biological reasons. But Wall Street Journal columnist Li Yuan paints a picture of Chinese tech employment that makes Damore’s views look almost tame by comparison. From her piece published today:

Such problems are so prevalent in Chinese society, many people don’t recognize certain behavior amounts to sexual harassment or discrimination, which is illegal in China—though generally the laws aren’t policed. Job ads sometimes say only men need apply.

She also points out that women in China’s Internet firms are still paid on average 30 percent less than men. Among the boards of directors of the country's Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, there is only one woman.

None of this, of course, makes Damore’s comments any more acceptable. But it does highlight that China has an even steeper mountain to climb than America when it comes to leveling the playing field for women working in tech.

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