Monday, February 12, 2007

The Great Gold-Digger Debate

A 2004 survey in China by Peking University showed that roughly half of Chinese women believed that it is better to marry a rich man than to work hard for a living. Three years later, the debate continues. The Shanghai Daily, Wednesday, 7 February 2007 carried 6 short responses to the debate from four women and two men, all currently at university; the responses chosen to represent both sides of the debate.

The situation for college graduates today in China is challenging. A record 4.95 million students are expected to graduate this spring, while an estimated million or more are expected to remain jobless. While Mao opened employment to women, promoting the concept that women hold up “half of the sky”, and Labor Law states that women have equal access to employment there remains significant job discrimination. With a societal expectation of marriage in their mid to late twenties and childbearing shortly thereafter, employers are inclined to not only hire, but specifically advertise for male employees.

China is not unique in the focus on money as opposed to love. A quick Google search on “gold-digger” and “marry for money” turns up innumerable articles and blogs on the role of money in marriage. The consensus is that while money does not buy love or happiness, lack of money can be a significant barrier. In the booming economy of China, seeking money to live better and enjoy the luxuries of life is natural. While there are men who look for money from the women, the bias is that the male should be the provider.

So are “girls hunting rich men dangerous” as one headline suggests? Or is it reasonable that until the job market improves, a university education for some women is a necessary catalyst to finding a successful husband? What do you think?

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At 3/12/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sad but true.


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