Perceptions, attitudes evolving as incomes and living standards rise
Changing attitudes mean young Chinese women no longer expect or even prefer their husbands' income to be higher than theirs, and instead are eager for career advancement and financial independence, a survey has found.
A poll of 1,000 women in cities across China found more than 40 percent of those born between 1995 and 1999 said they do not care how much their partner earns. For women born between 1990 and 1994, it was 33 percent.
The ratio for respondents born in the '70s and '80s, however, was around 20 percent.
Moreover, 58 percent of those born in the later half of the '90s said they yearn to be economically independent, compared with 44 percent for those born in the '80s and 31 percent for those born in the'70s.
The survey was conducted by LinkedIn China and L'Oreal China, and released ahead of International Women's Day, which fell on Thursday.
According to the poll, 20 percent of the women born in the late '90s said they have cast aside traditional social definitions on what it means to be female－being an understanding wife and a loving mother, for example－and instead want to be unique in their lifestyles and hobbies. This compared with less than 5 percent of women born in the '70s.
A separate survey by the Center for Population and Development Policy Studies at Fudan University showed that the more women earn, the more likely they will stay single.
"There is a correlation between a woman's income and her chances of getting married," said Shen Ke, associate professor from the Shanghai college's School of Social Development and Public Policy. "For women born after 1980 and earning more than 200,000 yuan ($31,500) a year, over 28 percent have never tied the knot."
Sociologists believe better education and job opportunities have contributed to such changes in women's perceptions.
The latest statistics from the All-China Women's Federation show 40 percent of women had or were receiving higher education in 2015, up 13.5 percentage points from 2010. Women accounted for nearly 50 percent of postgraduates in the country.
Wang Mengsha, born in 1993, is among the young women who do not care about her future husband's income.
"Gender equality is advocated strongly nowadays, so women should not hold such preconceptions that they are weaker than their male counterparts in income and financial capability," said Wang, a native of Anhui province who works for a foreign firm in Shanghai.
Such changes have also happened because families and society as a whole have shown stronger support for women to pursue their aspirations, added Wang Fengying, a deputy to the National People's Congress and general manager of Great Wall Motor.
"Based on personal experience, I don't think working hard will inevitably affect a woman's family life as long as she can allocate enough love to family members," she said.