CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (5/16/2019 Thu.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (5/16/2019 Thu.)

People's Daily app

04:38, May 16, 2019

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From the People's Daily app.

And this is Story in the Story.

In February 2019, China announced it had banned gender discrimination among recruiters to boost career opportunities for women. 

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, along with eight government agencies, issued a document that said no requirements for gender should be included in any recruitment plans or interviews.

Recruiters are forbidden to ask about marital or fertility status of female candidates during job interviews, nor can pre-employment physicals include pregnancy tests.

Those who violate the new provisions can face fines upwards of $8,000.  

And HR service providers also risk having their licenses revoked for more severe offenses.

Today's Story in the Story looks at how China’s opening-up has helped create more career opportunities for women while protecting them from gender discrimination.

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Shao Munan is one of the first pilots in China Eastern Airlines to fly the A350, a wide-bodied aircraft. (Photo: China Daily)

At the end of 2017, China only had 713 women who were licensed to fly civilian aircraft compared with roughly 55,000 men.

China's proportion of female pilots - at 1.3 percent - is one of the world's lowest, which analysts and pilots attribute to social perceptions and male-centric hiring practices by Chinese airlines.

Chinese carriers will need 128,000 new pilots over the next two decades, according to forecasts by aircraft maker Boeing, and the shortfall has so far prompted airlines to hire foreign captains and Chinese regulators to relax physical entry requirements for cadets.

When Shao Munan was a senior in high school, she dreamed of joining the Air Force and becoming a pilot.

Her aspirations seemed impossible as the Air Force preferred students with a science background for their pilot courses rather than a liberal arts background like Shao’s.

After graduating from high school, Shao went to Nanjing Agricultural University and studied sociology.  It was then that she felt her dream to fly planes would never take off.

In May 2011, fate intervened when Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics offered her a course that was only open to six female undergraduates.

"I decided to go for it," recalled the 30-year-old.

She applied and was accepted. Today, she is a co-pilot and flies an A350 from Shanghai to Rome.

To prepare for the test, Shao studied math and increased her physical strength.

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Shao Munan is one of the first pilots in China Eastern Airlines to fly the A350, a wide-bodied aircraft. (Photo: China Daily)

In 2012, Shao and her classmates went to the US for further training.

The flight school was in the US Northwest, and the weather only allowed three to four months of flight training each year, Shao explained.

To make the best of each flight day, Shao had to get up at 5 am to complete an entire day of courses and six flight hours before 10 pm.

After less than two years of intensive study and training, Shao became an A320 pilot for China Eastern Airlines' flight division.

China Eastern Airlines only has 81 female pilots out of 7,000.

In January, Shao became one of the first pilots in the company to fly the A350, a wide-bodied aircraft.

She moved on to fly the A330 after flying nearly 900 hours on the A320.

Then in January, Shao became one of the first pilots in the company to fly the A350, a wide-bodied aircraft. China Eastern Airlines is scheduled to receive up to 20 of them by 2022.

"I like to fly the A350 because it's more comfortable and 'human-friendly,'" said Shao, who has flown 2,300 hours and will apply to become a captain within three years.

According to Cai Hui, deputy general manager of China Eastern Airlines' Shanghai flight division, three of the 28 female pilots in the Shanghai flight department are A330 captains, and one of them has been in the position for more than 20 years

"The control system of modern aircraft enables female pilots to work as well as the male, and the large amount of management work for aircraft conditions also makes women more qualified for the job because they are more careful and meticulous," Cai said.

For Shao, being a pilot is simply a dream come true. "I enjoy this job that offers me a different angle, literally, to see the world," she said.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe, and Chelle Wenqian Zeng. Music by: bensound.com. Text from China Daily and Global Times.)

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