Human Rights Watch has issued a report calling attention to the way large Chinese technology companies are wishing to fight machismo in the workplace. According to the statistical survey, almost one in five job ads posted in the country include information such as “men only” or “preferably men”.
According to Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch in China, some companies go deeper into sexism. This is the case with Alibaba, which advertised recruiting ads promising, as one of the benefits of the vacancies offered, that the work environment had beautiful work colleagues.
The study and irregularities analyzed more than 36,000 job vacancies were found in internationally renowned companies including Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, and Tencent.
The entity reviewed China’s largest e-commerce company and a consistent pattern of women’s exclusion was evident. In addition to serving job offers only for male professionals, the company also presented an advertisement containing as a benefit to men the presence of attractive women in the workplace.
On the allegations, the company responded that “they have clear and well-defined guidelines on equal opportunities regardless of sex” and that “it will lead to more rigorous reviews of recruitment announcements to ensure compliance with our policy.” Alibaba also reported that it is one of the companies that offer the most gender equality in its work environment, with one-third of management positions being held by women.
In 2015, the smartphone maker announced a social media ad that said, “You want your salary to increase at a rate higher than real estate prices, marry a rich, beautiful, fair-skinned woman, and go to the peak of your life?”. However, the company claims that gender equality is embedded in its values.
Following the Human Rights Watch report, a Huawei spokesperson reported: “We will review the allegations brought to our attention in the report and also work to ensure that all recruitment advertising materials are fully gendered sensitive.”
The company runs a prevalent instant messaging application in China, and according to the report in October 2016, an employee said during a US recruitment fair that the main reason he joined Tencent was that the pros human resources that interviewed him were sexually attractive.
“We investigate these incidents and are making immediate changes, we regret that they have occurred, and we will take swift action to ensure that they do not happen,” said a spokesman for the company. happen again “.
The company responsible for the main search engine used by Chinese Internet users, Baidu had several ads that were identified as improper by the survey. In a video posted to a company account on social networks in September 2016, an employee appears to be speaking that he is happy in his professional life for being able to work alongside beautiful women. An ad for professionals interested in the content reviewer’s post, run in March 2017, required candidates to be males so they could work on weekends, holidays and at night.
A Baidu spokeswoman said: “We value the important work our employees do throughout the organization, and we deeply regret the cases where our job vacancies have not aligned with Baidu’s values.”
Even before the Human Rights Watch report was released, the company removed the inappropriate content from its social media and described it as “isolated cases that in no way reflect our company’s dedication to equality in the workplace.” Baidu also stated that 45 percent of its employees are female, a proportion that even counts with medium and high-ranking positions.
In China, some legislations prohibit gender segregation in advertisements for job vacancies, but it fails to be descriptive of what constitutes discrimination in practice. The full report: “As a result, the level of oversight is low and Chinese authorities rarely proactively investigate companies that repeatedly violate relevant laws.”
With the report, Human Rights Watch calls on the Chinese government to make changes in legislation, including a new anti-discrimination law in the workplace. In addition, it also calls on companies to “adopt and enforce company policies that prohibit all forms of discriminatory job advertisements based on gender.”