Alibaba, Baidu, and other Chinese tech companies post men-only job listings, report finds

Silicon Valley is not the only technology center guilty of widespread gender discrimination. Leading Chinese technology companies such as Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent discriminate against women on their lists of online jobs, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. Some job offers directly indicate that they are only for men, while others specify that women should have attractive appearances and even have certain height.

Online job discrimination on the basis of gender is particularly painful for women in China, since online application is generally the first step to securing a position, similar to how it is in the United States. When recruiters specifically list men on their list of qualifications, women are excluded from the application process before they can open the door and personally meet company employees.

According to Chinese law, gender discrimination in hiring practices and advertising are illegal, but the law is not clear about what exactly constitutes gender discrimination and the application of the rules is irregular. The infringing companies are generally not punished.

The Human Rights Watch report reveals that gender discrimination among major technology companies, as in the rest of Chinese society, is common and widespread. The Baidu search engine listed a job for content reviewers in March 2017 stating that applicants had to be men with "strong ability to work under pressure, able to work on weekends, vacations and night shifts".

A spokesperson for Baidu responded to The Verge : "We value the important work that our employees do throughout the organization, and we deeply regret the cases in which our work publications did not align with the values These job offers, which were identified and eliminated before the publication of the Human Rights Watch Report, were isolated cases that in no way reflect our company's dedication to labor equality. "

The conglomerate Tencent, which owns WeChat, the massive game Honor of the Kings and a majority stake in League of Legends was found to have published an ad for a sports content editor in March 2017, indicating that he was looking for "strong men who can work night shifts".

And Alibaba, even though Jack Ma promoted the inclusion of the company, deserved a full case study of the Human Rights Watch report.The report noted that the e-commerce giant was criticized in 2015 for posting a job advertisement on its site for a "motivator of computer programmers" who was looking for candidates with physical characteristics such as the Japanese adult film star Sola Aoi, Alibaba eliminated the reference to Sola Aoi after the media reported on it, but kept the ad on the site. Recently, in January of this year, Alibaba still mentioned "preferred men" in the job listings for "restaurant operations support" positions.

In a statement to The Verge Alibaba claimed to have one of the best practices in the technology industry, since women constituted one third of the founders and the management of the companies and 47 per cent. hundred percent of employees. It said: "Alibaba's recruitment policies have clear and well-defined guidelines on the provision of equal opportunities regardless of gender." Alibaba will conduct stricter reviews of recruitment announcements to ensure compliance with our policy. "

Technology companies also tend to promote the attractive women they have hired as incentives for more men to participate, according to the HRW report. It was noted that both Tencent and Baidu posted interviews on their social networks with employees who mentioned having beautiful women around them as an incentive to work there.

"The reason why I joined Tencent originated from a primordial impulse, it was mainly because the human resources ladies who interviewed me were very nice," said one employee, in an article that Tencent published in your WeChat account that has been deleted. Even the smartphone maker Huawei also mentioned its employees as an ornamental resource, writing on Weibo in 2013: "No matter how beautiful the landscape [on Huawei’s campus] beautiful girls are needed."

In traditional Chinese culture, people in general associate domestic and caring activities with women who, therefore, would not have time to work night shifts. Still, there are feminist activists in China advocating for gender equality now, and university students of a new generation calling for a change to these old ways of thinking. We have communicated with Tencent and Huawei to comment.